Children of Starlight, part 3 episode 14 of “The Starlight Trilogy” by Thea Washington
The character “the Rock Star” is based on Adam Lambert.
The videos in Part 3 feature Adam Lambert, Queen, Depeche Mode and Savage Garden.
Chapter 27 – DARKNESS AND LIGHT
Angel was speechless. Lover hadn’t told him that part on the Skype call. Now he understood everything. Lover’s refusal to sleep in order to protect the children if needed, what it must have taken for him to not tell Angel immediately, carrying that burden by himself. “What could he have been thinking?” wondered Angel. It reminded him of when he hadn’t told Starlight about the assault and how he’d carried that around by himself. But that was because he hadn’t trusted her love for him. He knew Lover trusted their love. The remembering must have sent him into shock.
More importantly, Angel couldn’t even imagine what Lover had been feeling, what would have been worst—the terror of that childhood day, seeing the Reporter again and in their home or the memory surfacing. Or finding out what the Reporter knew and what he wanted, the implied threat and what it might mean for their family. Or, he thought, what it would be like for Lover to have to tell him.
“He actually said he wanted $20 million?”
“What did you tell him?”
“I told him to go to hell.”
“Good. What’d he say?”
“He said, ‘If you two don’t come up with the money, that’s exactly where you’ll both be’.”
Angel heard something that made him stop. “Wait. He said ‘both’, not ‘you’?”
“Yes, he said ‘both’.”
Angel had been trying to stay calm for Lover’s sake. Until then his heart had been breaking. Now he felt it freeze.
“He’s not after you,” said Angel. “He’s out to get me and he’s using you to do it.”
The Reporter had said something else, something Lover’d been afraid to tell Angel. Now he understood, too. This time there was no hesitation. He could handle a threat to himself. Seeing the Reporter’s plan against Angel and his sociopathic lack of caring for their children, now he was ready to fight. And the first salvo on the Reporter would be to tell Angel everything.
“That wasn’t all he said.”
“What else could he possibly have said besides, ‘I want $20 million’?”
“He said that if he didn’t get the money, not only would he spill the beans about Snake, he’d go to the tabloids about the night with the chair. Between me killing a man and what you did that night we’d lose the children. He said he’d make sure of that.”
Lover saw the look on his husband’s face. He wasn’t afraid of it this time. He didn’t feel any pity for what the Reporter was going to get.
And they hadn’t even called for her yet.
Starlight and Indio were watching and listening. She was advanced enough now that she had the Forever perspective and knew she could not intervene with any plan to get the Reporter. Her boys were on their own.
The first thing they did was to increase security around the house. The official story was that there’d been a stalker. What they were doing was getting ready for the fight of their lives.
The second thing Lover wanted to do was to find out how the Reporter had found out about Snake. Maybe that way they could find the chinks in his armor. He asked his husband if it was OK for him to tell the Exec about what was going on since he wouldn’t be available at the office except for the most dire emergencies.
Angel said that was fine with him. He’d come to trust the Exec as much as Lover did. They were about to find out just how good a friend he really was. He came over to the mansion that afternoon.
And after hearing the whole story, all the Exec said was, “Wow. Well, that explains it.”
“Explains what?” asked a weary Lover, his face set for the next blow.
“What he’s been up to,” the Exec said. “I’ve been having him followed.”
Lover wasn’t sure he’d heard him right. “What?”
“I’ve been having him followed. For about 5 years now, maybe a little more.”
“But why?” asked Lover.
“Remember that day I called you from the airport because I’d seen him and the Intern doing some business?” Lover nodded. “Well, I never did trust that son of a bitch. And I knew the Intern needed a job, ‘cause nobody hired him after his part in all that. So I did. I paid for some cosmetic surgery so the Reporter wouldn’t recognize him. He’s been tracking him and letting me know his every move.”
“Cosmetic surgery? Tracking the Reporter? How much did that cost? Why didn’t you tell me?” Lover wasn’t sure how to react to all this. Neither did Angel.
“Why would you need to know? You were so happy, and then marrying the Rock Star. You two were in heaven. You were always meant to be together, even I could see that. And then you started talking about kids and I knew I’d do anything to help that happen and to make sure nothing got in your way. So, I put the Intern on the job.”
“Did you know the Reporter was going to try this?”
“Fuck no! How could you even ask me that? But I will tell you this. You wanna track this back? I can do it.”
“Yep, I can do that. Whatever you want to know.”
“I want to know how the motherfucker found out.”
“OK. I’ll make the call.”
And that’s how they found out.
Chapter 28 — UNRAVELING
The Intern wasn’t sure about this. Yes, he’d been working for the Exec all these years, watching and then tracking and following the Reporter, but he hadn’t had to face Lover and the Rock Star. Now, with the new face the Exec had paid for, he had to and he wasn’t very happy about it. In fact, he was so nervous he tripped up the doorstep when he and the Exec got to the Mansion.
(Starlight pretended not to notice–but Indio did.)
They all sat down in the Rock Star’s office, Lover’s eyes shooting daggers at the Intern’s new face. He’d never forgotten his betrayal, not only of Lover but of his love for the Rock Star. For a few minutes all he could do was sit there and shake his head while deciding whether to wring the Intern’s new neck before or after he got the information he needed out of him. The Rock Star wasn’t happy, either. The couple understood, though, that they needed the little shit. Fortunately, the Exec had him by the “tires” [so to speak] so at least he wasn’t a threat.
“So where do you want me to start?”
Lover hadn’t said a word, his expressionless face and eyes saying everything he was thinking. The three of them had decided he would be the primary interrogator.
“When did you pick up his trail?”
“Um, it was in Idaho. Then he got fired from that job, too. I guess he had some money saved so he wasn’t looking for another one right away. It had to be running out, though. And then the news of your engayment to the Rock Star came out; I think that’s when he started putting some kind of plan together. I’m not even sure he knew what it was gonna be ‘cause it wasn’t like he was acting strategically or anything.”
“How do you know that?”
The Intern looked at the Exec. “Go ahead,” he said. “You can tell him.”
“Well,” said the Intern, “you remember that Computer Wiz that used to work at the recording company? He opened his own shop a few years ago?”
This time it was the Rock Star’s turn to put on Lover’s expressionless face.
“What’s he got to do with this?” he asked the Intern, expecting the worst.
But the Exec took this one. “See, he’d been working on tracking the Reporter and the Intern even before we got started. He’d been really pissed at what they’d done to you. He figured out a way to track where the Reporter was calling. We’ve got his phone records. Now, we don’t have recordings of his conversations but we can draw some conclusions from what we do have.”
Lover and Angel looked at each other in amazement. All of this had been going on to protect them and they hadn’t had a clue. Angel remembered the Computer Wiz. He’d helped him track down Starlight at the very beginning. Then he’d recovered her last letter to Angel from her computer. He’d always been around, kind of low-key. The Rock Star’d had no idea how much the kid was doing for him all along. Or why.
“What conclusions?” he asked.
The Exec nodded for the Intern to resume telling the Rock Star and Lover what had happened. “Well, things really picked up after your wedding. He started making calls to D.C.”
“D.C.?” asked Lover, in alarm.
“Yep. He started asking around about your family. He even went there. I think he was just looking for any dirt he could find. A few times I tracked him to a bar he likes. He had a magazine that had your wedding picture on the cover. He was really interested in your family being there. Especially in who wasn’t.”
Lover was confused. “But everybody from my family was there.”
Now the Intern looked confused.
“Your Twin wasn’t.”
Lover almost got up to hit him. The Intern looked completely and authentically innocent.
“My Twin is dead,” said Lover.
“No, she’s not,” said the Intern.
Now all three men were focused on the Intern.
“My Sister, my Twin Sister, died of an overdose when she was fifteen.”
“Aw, man,” said the Intern. “Who told you that?”
Lover looked sick. “My mother.”
Immediately Angel went to him and knelt by his chair, reaching for his hand, rubbing his back. “Are you OK?”
“No,” Lover said, shaking his head. “No, I’m not. I think I’m gonna be sick. I don’t understand.”
It was clear that, by the look on the Exec’s face, he hadn’t known that Twin was alive, either. Why hadn’t the Intern told him? Angel and the Exec knew that Lover’d believed what his Mommy had told him. So it had to be true. Didn’t it?
Exec decided his question could wait. It wasn’t as important as what they were hearing about Twin. When he did calm down, he asked the Intern where Twin was. “Is she the woman you told me the Reporter was always driving by?” he asked the Intern.
“Yes,” the Intern answered. “I didn’t know it was her for a long time. I thought he was just cruising, you know, and that he’d chicken out at the last minute? You never know what those women …” Given the looks on the men’s faces and knowing he was in deep trouble with that last comment, he decided it was best to just say it and get it over with.
“Look, I did some asking around, too. She’s had it really rough. She’s working in Prince George’s County as, um, she’s a hooker.”
Lover’s eyes widened and then he was in Angel’s arms, who hadn’t moved from Lover’s chair. It was heart wrenching to watch. The Exec could tell by the Intern’s face that he knew more and that Lover had to hear it all. He had to get the Intern to say everything he knew.
The Exec and Lover’d never really discussed Twin after Lover’d told him about her when they were in grad school. Exec could tell even then that it hurt Lover to talk about her, so he’d never brought her up again.
“Sir, that’s not all,” he said, looking back and forth between the three men, now all staring daggers at him. “I did some asking around, too. It was expensive but I found out some things.”
“Some “things” like what?” asked the Exec, obviously not happy at all about how this conversation was going.
“She’s a crack addict. She’s doing ten rocks a day. And for a while she was making porn, too.”
Lover couldn’t hear any more. He struggled out of Angel’s arms, the first time in his life he’d done that. Sometimes having someone, even someone you love and whom you know loves you, touch you is just too much. Briefly a memory crossed his mind, Angel telling him that one of the reasons he was running away to the Mountain House was because, after Starlight died, everyone was touching him.
“I’ve got to go get her,” Lover muttered to himself. “I can’t let her stay there. I’ve got to go get her.”
“There’s was one more thing,” the Intern said, shaking. He knew how much trouble he was in. The look on the Exec’s face told him he’d better say it fast, before he got hurt.
“She’s got a daughter. She’s about six years old now. Her pimp, some guy named Pimp Dealer uses her to keep Twin in line.” All three men knew what that meant for the little girl.
Pimp Dealer. Twin. His niece. Lover couldn’t hear any more. Not another word.
Again for the first time, Lover was the one to run away from Angel. Before he could stop him Lover was out the door and tearing down the driveway. Angel let him go, praying Starlight would watch over him.
Tomorrow in “Children” – The puzzle comes together … almost