© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 85

"Well here we are again," laughed Toby as he and Skyler stood on the red carpet to have their pictures taken.

"Is everyone here?" Skyler asked, trying to look around without actually moving his head.

"Just about," replied Toby. "Leo and Devon are already inside. Neve and Shannon aren't here yet but they will be. I talked to Neve this morning."

"Here they come now," said Skyler as Neve and Shannon got out of the limousine while cameras flashed around them as they made their way to the two guys.

"Are we playing tonight?" Neve asked as she smiled at Skyler.

Skyler put his arm around her waist and turned her so they were facing the cameras. "Looks like it," he said with a smirk.

"It's just a good thing that Jeff and I get along," she said under her breath.

"And that he loves me so much," replied Skyler.

"Are we going to give interviews?" she asked.

"Couldn't hurt," he said, moving them toward an "Entertainment Tonight" cameraman and reporter.

"Hi guys," said the young blond haired reporter. He didn't look a day over twenty with his fair skin and bright blue eyes. "I'm Chad Hunter with 'Entertainment Tonight'. Care to answer a few questions for the camera?"

"Sure," said Skyler, smiling at the cameraman.

"How excited are the two of you to be here tonight?"

"We're both excited to be here," said Skyler. "We're more excited to actually be done with filming. This was a massive project and we're all happy that we're finished."

He asked mundane questions and Skyler was thankful. When he asked about Skyler and Neve's relationship he accepted the "no comment" and moved on. Skyler was pleased when they walked away from him and into the theater.

The entire group sat together with their significant others. After rounds of hugs and well wishes it was time to watch the premiere. Skyler was thrilled with the finished product and two and a half hours later he was back on the red carpet beside Neve for pictures. This time they were joined by Catherine Zeta Jones and Billy Zane.

"You two look adorable together," said Catherine.

"Too bad it's not what it looks like," Billy said while smiling at the cameras.

"Believe me Jeff and Danny are both very happy to know that it isn't what it looks like," said Neve. "You guys going to any of the parties?"

"We'll be at as many as possible," said Billy. "How about you guys?"

"I'm going to the Hilton and then maybe I'll head over to The Viper Room," said Skyler. "I don't want to be out all night this time."

"I hear you," said Catherine. She kissed his cheek making the crowd scream and more cameras flash. "In case I don't see you later. Have fun guys."

Neve decided to ride with him to the Hilton and they laughed about all of the pictures that would appear in both the legitimate press as well as the rags over the next few days. Skyler was glad that she was so accepting of it all. They had a great time together and he'd hate it if the tabloids had done anything to spoil their friendship.

When they arrived at the Hilton they found Shannon talking with Holly Marie Combs and Brian Krause. Skyler was happy to see Brian again and thrilled to be introduced to Holly. They stuck together for the rest of their time at the party and had a great time.

"So tell me what's been going on with Chad," said Brian as they all sat at a table to catch their breath after dancing.

"Well he won't take my calls," said Skyler. "I really don't know what to think at this point."

"I heard that he fired Clay Silver," said Brian.

"Clay quit," replied Skyler. "He fired Laura Ullman."

"I bet that went over well," laughed Brian.

"Oh she was happy to go by the time it was all over," said Skyler. "How's your gig?"

"The show is great," replied Brian. "Nothing like 'Secrets'."

"I'm happy to hear that," laughed Skyler, thinking about all of the back biting that went on at NBC when they were filming together.

"So you're going to Sydney?" Brian asked.

"Yeah," sighed Skyler. "I leave in the morning."

"And you're out here?"

"Oh but I'm going back to the house after this," laughed Skyler. "I was going to go to another one but I've decided against it."

"Well call me the next time you're going to be in LA," said Brian. "We'll get together. I miss you, man."

"I miss you, too," said Skyler. "Have you heard anything out of Gabrielle or Kristy?"

"I see Kristy about once a week," he said. "Gabrielle is in Paris shooting a movie with Rod Seebring."

"Well I guess it'll be a while before I talk to her," laughed Skyler.

"Be a while before any of us talk to her," said Brian. "Rod closed the set. Nothing in and nothing out."

"Ouch," winced Skyler. "I hate those kinds of shoots."

"I hear you," replied Brian. "So what are you working on now?"

"Nothing," said Skyler. "I leave for Sydney in the morning to get ready for the Games. Then I start the new album."

"No tour?" Brian asked as Holly came to the table and joined them.

"Not yet," said Skyler, smiling at Holly. "Jase wants me to shoot another movie. He's still filming in Sydney so I'll see him when I get there."

"What kind of movie?" Holly asked.

"I'm not sure," admitted Skyler. "He says he's found the perfect script for me though."

"I'm sure he has," laughed Brian.

"Neve said you were recording music," said Holly. "New album?"

"No," he replied. "Just a song for the Sydney Games."

"You said you'll be working on your album when you come back from Sydney right?" Brian asked.

"Oh yeah," said Skyler. "I've been writing like crazy."

"Can't wait," said Holly.

"Thanks," he said, beaming at her.

Shortly after that Skyler said his goodbyes to Brian and Holly. He made his way over to where Neve and Shannon were talking and kissed them both on the cheek. Both hugged him tight and made him promise to call them soon.

Outside the press was still clamoring for interviews and pictures. Skyler smiled for the cameras but gave no more interviews. He ignored their questions about why he was leaving without Neve and followed Brent to the waiting SUV, shutting the press out and sighing as the vehicle pulled our of the slot it had been parked in.

"So how long do you think the press will buy you and Neve Campbell together?" Brent asked as they rode along.

"As long as they don't find out about Danny," he replied, smirking at his body guard and friend. "It's harmless. Neither of us have actually said we're together or anything so it isn't like we're lying to anyone."

"I wasn't implying that you were," said Brent. "It was a straight forward question."

"I took it as one," Skyler said, smiling at him. "Don't worry."

"I'll miss you while you're in Sydney," Brent said softly.

"I'll miss you, too," he replied. "But I'll be happy knowing that you're here keeping my youngest brother safe. I'll have Matt, Dominic and Luca with me. I'll be fine."

"Yeah," said Brent.

They were silent the rest of the way back to Skyler's apartment building. He lounged back and shut his eyes. His flight was at five AM and it would come very soon. He supposed he'd sleep on the plane if the children let him. At least this time he'd have Jeff with him. That was enough to keep him happy. Sleep deprivation or not, he was happy.

* * *

"You sure you're all right?" Skyler asked Laura at the airport. She'd come to see them off and he'd noticed that she looked a little pail.

"I'm fine," she lied. "Go and knock 'em on their asses, Skyler."

She leaned close and kissed his cheek as everyone started grabbing their carry-on bags and preparing to board the jet that would take them to Sydney. He hugged her tight and then followed Jeff down the ramp, his bag in hand.

"Laura seems tired lately," said Jeff as they found their seats and got the children all settled.

"I noticed," replied Skyler. "I keep asking her about it but she just keeps telling me she's fine."

"What does Clay have to say about it?"

"Clay hasn't mentioned it to me yet," sighed Skyler as he sank into his seat. "I'll talk to him about it when we get there."

He slept through most of the flight. He woke twice to give Preston something to snack on and a drink. Once more he woke to settle an argument between Preston and Alyssa about animal crackers. His heart just wasn't black enough to wake Jeff for such a petty thing. He smiled at his security men and then sank back down next to his lover and went back to sleep.

"Hey sexy man," whispered Jeff when Skyler opened his eyes for the fourth time during the flight.

"Blue Eyes," he said, stretching and stifling a yawn. "Are the kids . . ."

"They're all asleep," Jeff said, smiling.

"Good," sighed Skyler, scooting closer to Jeff. "We should be landing soon huh?"

"Should be."

"Well then I want to leave the kids with Helen and get some real sleep in a bed," he said, yawning again.

"Sounds good as long as we can cuddle up together," said Jeff, smiling.

"Count on it, Blue Eyes," he replied.

"Brody's staying with us?" Jeff asked.

"He is for a few days and then he'll get back to Melbourne to visit with his parents and check in with the college," replied Skyler. "Clay's taking care of all of that."

"All right," sighed Jeff. "I just want to make sure that we have a little time alone as a family."

"We will, baby," said Skyler. "Count on it."

Two hours later they were loading into an SUV, buckling the children and making sure that their luggage was in the SUV parked behind the one they were getting into. Helen would be waiting for them when they arrived at the apartment that had already been rented for them through Sky High's offices in Sydney. Jase and Mike were staying in the same building along with Christian, Chip and Justin so they'd have lots of neighborly company.

The apartment was actually a penthouse with six bedrooms and four bathrooms. After making sure that Helen had the children under control, Skyler and Jeff went to the master suite to shower and crawl into bed. They woke four hours later just in time to have dinner with the children as Brody sat in the living room talking with Chip and Christian. Justin and Jase were still filming but Mike was there.

"So what time does Clay get here?" asked Jeff as he fed his son.

"I told him that if he showed up here today I'd kill him," replied Skyler. "He said he'd see us tomorrow morning but not before nine."

"Good man," laughed Jeff. "So what's the agenda?"

"Well opening ceremony is Saturday," replied Skyler. "I thought I'd work with Brody on his album tomorrow afternoon and then when he goes to Melbourne we have a few days of family time."

"Sounds good to me," said Jeff. "We haven't been alone as a family in quite a while."

"Well maybe after a while that won't be such an issue," Skyler said, thinking of the new house.

For the rest of the evening they sat in the living room catching up with Chip and Christian. When Jase arrived with Justin they talked about the movie and what was happening on the set. Jase assured them that they would be finished by the time the family was supposed to fly back to Orlando.

The kids were put to bed at eight and they spent a little adult time with Jase, Christian, Brody and Chip until it was time for the adults that weren't staying in the penthouse to return to their respective apartments for the night.

Clay arrived promptly at nine the next morning with a schedule for Skyler to look over and approve. He approved only half of it, making Clay sigh as he read over the corrections. Skyler informed him that he wasn't going to be running around giving interviews and sitting for photo shoots the entire time there were in Sydney.

Skyler left with Clay and Brody to work on Brody's album at one and didn't return until nearly nine that night. Jeff hugged and kissed him when he returned and the couple spent a little while in the hot tub that was on their balcony.

"This is nice," Skyler said, looking around the balcony.

"It is," agreed Jeff. "How was recording?"

"Not bad," replied Skyler. "He's getting better. I recorded a bit with him today and it sounded amazing to me."

"He's excited as hell," laughed Jeff. "I'd forgotten what being new to the business with your first break was like."

"He's a bundle of energy," agreed Skyler. "Justin's the same way though. They'll both settle down once the reality of the work involved sets in on them."

"Then they'll be as tired as we are all the time," Jeff replied with a chuckle.

"What are you guys going to do while I'm recording with Brody tomorrow?" Skyler asked.

"Helen is going to sit with the kids and I'm going to hang out on the set for a while," replied Jeff. "Jase asked me if I'd like to see a little filming."

"That's good, actually," said Skyler. "I'll be recording just down the street. When we break for lunch I'll come down and we can have lunch with Jase and Justin."

"Sounds like a plan to me," Jeff said, smiling.

The next morning Skyler made his way to the Sky High Studio with Brody. He'd kissed the children and his lover before heading out. They'd be recording tracks for Brody's album and Skyler had decided that since it was his band playing the music for Brody's album he might actually record a track of his own. He'd been running the lyrics through his head the entire time he'd been in Sydney. Sully was already there as well. He'd arrived the day before to work on a few tracks on Brody's album. It was all set.

Before they got started on Brody's tracks, Skyler had his band look over the music for the track that he wanted to record. Brody watched them all talking back and forth with Skyler and smiled. Skyler was his hero and watching this was amazing for him. He sat back with the producers and tech men and watched while Skyler recorded the first track of his own album.

This was completely different than anything he'd done before. Instead of having the band play the music while it was recorded and then having it piped back to him through his headphones as he sang, he was sitting in the middle of the room with a microphone three inches above his head as the band assembled around him.

Microphones were set up all over the room and they tested the sound four different times before they decided it was all set. Skyler listened as the music started and waited for his queue. He smiled at Sully as he began to sing.

"You know just how to hurt me and how to take all the pain away. Oh you must be the devil in disguise. There were times I think you knew when I was so afraid of you. There's some kind of madness in your eyes.

"You know a place buried deep in my heart nobody else can see. Something in you has taken some kind of hold on me.

"I don't know why I keep coming back to you, baby. I don't know why I keep coming back to you. To you baby," he sang, rocking back and forth to the beat of the music.

"You say we shouldn't be lovers and I say we can't just be friends. All this talking just makes me want you more. You've got a way of confusing a heart that nobody else could do. Why should I try? I don't wanna get over you.

"I don't know why I keep coming back to you, baby. Just tell me why I keep coming back to you. Oh I don't know why I keep coming back to you, baby. Please tell me why I keep coming back to you," he sang and let the boys play on while he waited a bit.

"I'm so in love, so in love with the games that you play. So in love and nothing can keep me away!" he sang.

"You've got a way of confusing a heart that nobody else could do. Why should I try? I don't wanna get over you.

"I don't know why I keep coming back to you, baby. I don't know why I keep coming back, keep coming back to you, baby. Just tell me why I keep coming back to you," he sand and the band played on for a bit and then the music stopped.

"That sounded amazing, Skyler," said Bruce Becker from the control booth.

"Thanks," he said, getting up from the chair. "Sorry for taking over this shindig but I just had to get that one out of my head."

"Well it sounded like a hit," said Bruce. "Come on in here and have a listen while the boys get their stuff together. We're going to head down to Studio B to finish Brody's stuff today."

He came into the control booth and sat beside a beaming Brody Tanzek. They listened to the track and Skyler sighed. It sounded good but it needed some work. He knew that he'd have to do some background vocal work and there were technical things that had to be done to the track itself but he was satisfied with what he'd recorded.

At lunch with Jase and Justin he told them about the track. Jeff and Jase expressed the desire to hear it for themselves and at the end of the day they sat in the studio to listen to the raw track. Jeff hugged him tight when the song was over.

"Sounds like a hit to me, baby," he said, squeezing.

"Where did that one come from?" Jase asked as they walked down the hall after thanking Bruce for letting them listen.

"Nowhere special," replied Skyler. "Come on. I want to kiss the kids and be lazy for the night."

They followed him out and to the SUV that would take them back to the apartment building. Skyler was happy and content. He had nothing to do until the fifteenth and then they would return to Orlando so he could really work on his album. Life was getting good for him.

* * *

"Skyler, wake up," Jeff said, shaking him.

He looked at the clock and saw that it was two in the morning and he wondered what had happened. He looked Jeff in confusion as he wiped sleep from his eyes.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Sky, two planes have crashed into the Twin Towers in New York," Jeff said, and Skyler's stomach rolled.

The outline I have for this story had Skyler singing "Let Me Fall" by Josh Groban for the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Well I deviated slightly from the outline and forgot that the story had already reached 2001 and I was still writing that Sky would be performing for the Olympics. Instead of going back and changing so much of the already posted story I dealt with this blunder by changing it to the 2001 Summer Good Will Games in Sydney. Now I know that the Games didn't actually take place in Sydney but this is only a fantasy story anyway. Just wanted to address the blunder.

A note on the times in this chapter. In America the Twin Towers were hit at 8:46 AM on September, 11, 2001. In Sydney that exact time was 1:46 AM (give or take depending on Daylight Savings Time) on September 12, 2001. That's why the story seems to depict the wrong date. I do not mean to belittle the event or the tragedy in any way by writing about it in this chapter and further chapters of this story. I could have skipped over this event and moved the story forward as if it hadn't happened but that wouldn't be believable. Please understand that this story is purely fiction but 9/11 was not.

The next chapter will be posted soon.