Two Worlds 11
The heavy southern humidity had started to settle in on Orlando so by the time the picnic rolled around Kelly wasn't in the mood to go out and sit in the heat. She was still feeling a little sick, but knew that the whole group and their families were getting together before they flew out to the tour again, so she needed to act the part of the good girlfriend and make an appearance. By this time everyone had called to ask about Colton so it was almost a coming out party for him, a platform to show him off to everyone at once.
As she combed Colton's hair down and made sure that Brianna's hair was up off her neck to keep her cooler she looked at the kids and began to wonder if it was such a good idea to show them off like Joey was doing. She knew that it was going to be easier to have everyone meet him at once, but she wasn't sure that he was ready for the bombardment of a huge party with over a hundred people at it.
"We go Didi!" Brianna screeched from where she stood next to them.
Kelly watched her daughter with a smile as she reached her arms up, a sign that she wanted to be hugged so Kelly leaned down and grabbed her up and balanced her on her hip. She turned and looked in the mirror at their little family and smiled. This was it. The three of them, well four of them, but she had a feeling that it would be the three of them a lot more than the four of them knowing Joey's schedule.
"Ok," Kelly finally said breaking her little depressive mood before it started, "Let's load up the car and we'll go over to see Daddy and everyone."
Twenty minutes later Kelly was stepping out of the car in the huge driveway and reaching to unload the kids. She could see everyone starting to arrive and for a moment she didn't know what she was doing there. Everyone that was there seemed to know their place. A few weeks before, actually a few days before she would have known her place, but now she wasn't so sure about what to do, how to act and how to be.
Meredith was sitting on the porch with Farzana probably talking about recording things while the guys played basketball in the yard. Even Melinda looked like she knew what she was doing, while Kelly didn't feel like she had a place there.
"Briana!" Meredith finally yelled and came running down from the porch to grab her away and hold onto her, spinning her around a little.
"Be careful. Having a dizzy two and a half year old isn't something I think you want to ask Santa for Christmas this year."
Colton climbed out of the car and Meredith stopped twirling. "Hi there cutie," she said, "What's your name?"
"Colton Fatone," he said, "Right Kelly?"
"Yep," Kelly said closing the car door and tucking her keys into her pocket. She watched the guys playing for a moment thinking that Joey might wave to her, like he usually would, but he didn't. They were too into the game to stop.
"How old are you Mr. Colton Fatone?" Meredith asked.
"I dis many," Brianna said holding up one finger.
"Brianna you're two now," Kelly said with a smile and held up her hand to show two fingers and waited for Brianna to do the same.
Farzana finally made her way over and hugged Kelly. "How are you?" she asked, "It seems like Mere here forgot that you actually are a person too."
Kelly laughed a little and took Colton's hand. "Kiddo, you need to stay around your dad or me or the guys ok? No going by the water unless your daddy or me come with you." Colton nodded. "Sorry about that. I'm not used to having a four-year-old to take care of. Brianna is still too little to get into too much trouble."
"I trobwll," Brianna sang out
Meredith tickled her tummy. "Yes girl you are very much a troublemaker."
"Didi!" Brianna screeched just then.
"Dang Brianna, I was going to sneak up on everyone."
"Ugh!" Brianna leaned towards him and Joey grabbed her up and hugged her and kissed her. "I'm sweaty jelly bean. You better stay with Meredith and mommy."
"Didi!" she screeched again when he tried to hand her back.
"Jelly Bean Meredith wants to hold onto you so you can go do girl stuff," he said. He looked down at Colton and smiled, "Hey big guy."
"Hi Daddy," Colton said.
Kelly's breath caught in her throat and she looked at Joey's eyes. He'd been shocked by the name, but didn't let it register on his face for long. "You want to go find Papa Joe and play some ball?"
Colton nodded and left with Joey and Meredith started to walk away with Brianna to go find her some juice to distract her from wanting to be held by Joey.
"Are you ok?" Farzana asked.
"I've had a hell of a long day, hell of a long week, month, year," she said and sighed, "Life."
"Come on," she said, "We'll go grab a beer and make fun of the boys. You know JC is out there trying to outdo Justin. The boy thinks he can play, but he hasn't made a basket in the last half hour."
Kelly laughed, "I think juice would be better for me. I've been off and on sick the last few weeks."
Farzana smiled, "Sounds like me. I got a cold then JC got one then I got it back and now he's getting over it for the second time. It sucks to be a couple."
Kelly wanted to cry at her comment. She didn't know half of how bad things were and she didn't want to scare her or anything else. The last few days had been hell for them. Joey had stayed in the master bedroom and she in the guest bedroom and things had gone fairly normal for them other than the fact that they didn't say more than five words to each other a day.
"Kelly are you sure you're ok?" Farzana asked.
Kelly put her hands to her face and took a big breath. "I can't be here. I just--"
Farzana put an arm around her and led her towards the offices. "Come on. We'll go upstairs and talk. It's cooler inside anyway."
Kelly nodded and glanced over to where the boys were playing and Joey wasn't looking. She had always heard the guys joke around about dramatic relationships that they'd been in and she didn't ever want to be the subject of one of their bashing conversations. It was bad enough that the press had been calling. She'd erased most of the messages that they'd left while Joey was in the studio, but they'd definitely given her the message that she was now note worthy news now.
"Sit down," Farzana said. Somehow they'd gotten up to Johnny's office and were sitting on the couches. "Tell me what's going on."
"Joey and I have been having problems lately," she admitted in a soft voice. She wiped her face. "He got a call a few weeks ago about his son and he flew home to tell me that he basically had lied to me for almost five years." She let out a laugh, "You know I should have known this all along. I mean you hear stories about him all the time. There have been the drinking ones, the stripper ones, and basically every time some female comes in contact with him they end up getting something from him."
"Awe," Farzana said. "Girl. Joey is a good guy. I was on tour with him and I never saw him doing anything."
"It's not what he did," Kelly said, "He didn't tell me what was going on."
"It wasn't like he knew was it?" Farzana asked. When Kelly gave her a harsh look she continued, "I'm not taking his side. I'm asking a question."
"I don't know if he knew or not, but it just confirms that there are probably other women out there that might have--" Her eyes swelled with tears and she tried to wipe them away. "He promised me that I was the only one that he'd slept with since we met in high school. He told me that over and over again...and I was dumb enough to believe it."
"You weren't dumb," Farzana said.
Kelly blinked her eyes and as the words of her mother and the events of the last few weeks came down on her she began to crumble. "It wouldn't be that bad if it were just him and me dealing with this, but it's this like press thing now. It's out of hand." She took a deep breath, "Just when I get it out of my head for the day I'll get some call from a reporter or someone asking for information. I don't even know how they got the number, but somehow they did."
Farzana frowned and rubbed Kelly's back. "Have you told Melinda and everyone about the press? Maybe they can do something to help."
"I don't want to involve Melinda in all this. There are enough people all up in my business at the moment."
"When was I up in anyone's business?" Melinda asked as she appeared in the doorway. "My ears were burning and I thought I heard you guys up here."
"It's nothing," Kelly said and wiped her face. "I'm just having one of those days. I'm getting over the flu and it's killing me."
"What's going on that might need my help?" Melinda asked sitting down on the coffee table across from where the girls were on the couch. She looked to be in business mode and Kelly could almost see her taking notes in her head already.
"The press has gotten hold of--"
"Farzana don't It's not worth it. The way things are going Joey and I will probably end up breaking things off. It's not worth the trouble of all this."
"Breaking up?" Melinda said raising her eyebrows. "Why would you break up?"
"Because of Colton," Farzana said, "Well not Colton exactly, but because Joey was cheating on her."
"Oh lord," Melinda breathed out. "I hate when these rumors come up."
"They aren't rumors," Kelly ground out. "If they are then explain Colton."
"Kelly, Joey loves you to death," Melinda said with a sigh. She reached out and touched her knee to get her to pay attention when she dipped her head. "Kelly. He loves you. He was dating Yvonne for about two months. He called me about it when they broke up and told me about it, made me remember everything so that if something came up about it that I'd know it."
"Well did he tell you that he fucked that girl and got her pregnant?" Kelly ground out pushing Melinda's hand away.
"No." Her tone was calm when talking to Kelly and she definitely was in work mode now. "Kelly he didn't know this was going to happen. He wasn't cheating on you. It was before you got together. It was almost a month before you made your relationship official and I can guarantee that he hasn't done anything like that since. He's a good guy Kelly. He loves you and he loves your kids. You need to trust him."
"How can I trust a man that might come home one day and tell me that he has more children. I don't need to stress out about waiting for that bomb to drop." She sighed and started to curl up into a ball. "I can't do that to myself or my daughter. I'll go crazy doing that."
"Kelly you need to calm down," Farzana said. She could hear in her voice concern that went farther than just not wanting drama in their lives. She wanted things to be settled for Kelly's own good not just for the good of the group.
"I think I'm just going to go home. I'll leave the kids here with Joe, but I think I need to just go home and rest."
"If you want to do that I'll watch the kids for you," Farzana volunteered.
Kelly nodded, "I think it would be best. It'll take a lot of tension out of the air and let everyone have a good time. I'm just keeping everyone from that right now."
"Don't say that," Melinda said, "You're not causing trouble. You're part of the family--"
"What family?" she asked, "All I am right now is Brianna's mother and to me that doesn't say a lot."
"Stop that," Farzana said, "Wipe your face off and we'll go grab Brianna so you can say goodbye to her then we'll get you out of here." She sighed, "Just call me if you need anything. I know I'm supposed to be spending time with JC tonight, but if you need me I can come over."
"Really that's ok," Kelly said, "But thanks."
Melinda followed them as they moved out of the room. "I'll check into getting you guys a restricted phone number. It won't be the first time that I've had to change numbers for the guys. It should be easy."
"Thanks Melinda," she said.
"Hey there she is Joe," Justin said.
"What?" he asked looking at where Justin was looking.
"You were looking for Kelly and there she is."
"So?" He moved closer to Justin, "Come on and play."
"Where is she going?" Justin asked.
"What?" Joey asked and stood up straight, taking himself out of the game just in time to see Kelly getting in the car. He would have just watched her sit there, but when he saw her start the engine he ran over and knocked on the window.
She looked at him through the glass and he knew that she'd been crying. She might have wiped her face, but she hadn't wiped away the evidence of her tears. It took her a moment, but she finally rolled down the window.
When it was down far enough he leaned a little on the door and looked her straight in the eyes. He knew that the last week for them had been hell, but her leaving meant that something was really wrong. If she hadn't been feeling well he could understand her reason for leaving, but just disappearing wasn't something he wanted to happen. "Where are you going Kelly?" he asked.
She sighed and he could see the tiredness in her eyes. He was sure that she'd been in the guest bedroom all night long the last few nights, but now, as he saw her eyes, he knew that she probably wasn't sleeping all of those hours. "I need to go home Joey."
"Are you not feeling good?" he asked leaning in the window a little. He didn't want her to leave, but short of jumping on the hood of the car he wasn't sure how he should get her to stay.
She shook her head that she wasn't feeling well. "I just need to go home."
"Why?" he asked and put a hand in the car and turned off the ignition.
"I don't fit in here," she said, "I need to go home."
"Kelly get out of the car," he said with a firm voice.
"Why?" she asked, "Why can't I just go home?"
"I want to talk to you," he said, "Get out of the car so we can talk."
"Joey, let me go," she pleaded, "We can talk about this at home."
"No," he said, "I'm not letting you leave."
Farzana came around the car and pulled at his shoulder, "Let her go home Joey. She doesn't feel good."
Joey sighed. "Go talk to JC Farzana and let me talk to Kelly."
"Joey come on," she said, "Just let her go home. Don't start something right now."
"Farzana," he ground out, "Go away."
JC soon appeared and Joey groaned. "Leave it alone C," he said, "This is between me and Kelly."
Kelly started to roll the window up and Joey shoved his arm in the way knowing that she'd stop if he had it there. When she did he reached to open the car door.
"Leave me alone," Kelly said and began to cry openly as his arm slid out of the car.
Joey pulled away from all of them and saw the looks on their faces. He hadn't done a thing to any of them other than argue with them and they were looking at him like he'd just committed a crime or something.
"Kelly you stay," he said suddenly. He wasn't about to sit there and watch them looking at him like that. It was bad enough that Kelly was upset with him. He didn't want everyone else to feel that way. He knew that he was a disappointment and in the last four days he'd been thinking heavily about thing that a healthy, clearly professionally happy guy should think about. He wouldn't say that he was suicidal exactly, but the stress of the situation had been weighing on his mind. "I'll go."
As he backed away JC tried to stop him and Joey took a swing at him. At this point he didn't know if anyone would believe him, but he was more ashamed of his actions than really upset at anyone. He couldn't seem to do anything to prove to them that he hadn't done anything wrong so he thought he might as well start acting like the bad boy that everyone thought he was.
"Joey calm down," he said, "You guys both need to just chill out."
"Chill out?" Joey asked, "What do you know about chilling out JC?" He felt his blood pressure rise and could feel a cold sweat forming over his skin. He was feeling that everyone at the compound was watching him now.
"Joey what the hell is going on?" JC asked, "You're acting like an ass right now. You need to calm down."
When Joey felt his arm fly out towards JC he wanted to stop it, but it was as if it had a mind of it's own and he watched helplessly as he hit JC. Farzana screamed and in the moments that followed JC was pulled away from him and Joey was tackled to the ground by a group of them. All he could see was half pavement and half of someone's arms being pulled around him as he struggled and the sounds of Brianna screaming and Colton's crying filled his ears.