Children of Starlight, part 3 episode 18 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 35 – SECOND CHANCES
“So, did you like my story?” asked the Reporter, snickering. “I just wanted you to know I’m serious here.”
“Yeah, well, we’re serious, too,” snapped the Rock Star. They were in his office at home.
“I hope so, because now that you’ve seen what I could do with that little ‘chair’ nugget, imagine what’ll happen when Lover’s story hits the street. Betcha won’t be so sure of yourself then.”
“Look, you do ANYTHING to me and mine and you’ll see just how serious we are.”
“Ooo, aren’t we in a bad mood today.”
“Look, you’re lucky I even called you, much less let you in the door,”grumbled the Rock Star. “And if my husband and kids were here, there’s no way in hell you’d have gotten in at all.”
“On, come on. Is that any way to treat the man you wanted so badly that day? Admit it, you were ready to give me anything I wanted. And that included YOU, sonny boy.” The Reporter was feeling cocksure now that he knew the Rock Star was having this meeting without Lover there.
“Then it’s a good thing I forgot my wallet, huh? And that you were so confident on your phone call that I happened to overhear? Otherwise I might have contracted some kind of disease.”
“Now that wasn’t nice at all,” laughed the Reporter. “I may be who I am but I’ve always been bug-free. Besides, I wasn’t done with you yet. I still wanted that Editor’s job at ‘Rolling Stone’ and you would have gotten it for me, too. You would have done anything for me after I got through with you, old man.”
The Rock Star was playing it cool, needing to stretch out this visit as long as possible. The kids had gone shopping with the Nanny and the Housekeeper but Lover was on a much more important mission.
He was so nervous he thought he’d be sick but he knew this was the only way to get it done. In his business not much scared him but this was different. He gathered his courage and knocked on the door. He heard the footsteps and, then, the door opened. It was Niece, just as pretty as her mother.
“Hi,” he said, smiling. “Is your mommy home?”
The hoarse voice came from a back room. “Girl, I told you not to open that …”
There she was, right in front of him, blunt in one hand, a can of beer in the other. Her eyes were bloodshot, her hair a mess, her skin ravaged. Even her clothes looked like they were fresh from a dumpster somewhere. He could even smell her.
He hadn’t seen her in over thirty years but there was no doubt. It was her.
For a minute they just stood there, Niece looking back and forth at them. It was clear even to her six-year-old eyes that they were related. The same eyes, the same mouth, the same skin tone. Even the same build.
“Mama, who’s this man?” asked the little girl, tearing up at the stranger. She’d had to meet strange men before and they weren’t very nice to her so she already expected the worst.
For a moment Twin couldn’t answer. Then she stammered, “He’s, uh, he’s somebody I knew a long time ago.” She turned to her daughter, who by now was hiding behind her.
“It’s OK. You go play now.” Niece looked suspicious and worried, but she did what she was told. Lover noticed how scared she was, too.
Lover had promised himself and Angel he’d hold it together when they’d hatched the plan. Angel would call the Reporter and pretend he’d changed his mind. He wouldn’t promise the whole $20 million but he hinted that he’d thought about a part of it. And, he’d said, he didn’t want Lover to know. The Reporter, greedy for whatever he could get (in this first installment) would immediately agree to come over, they knew that.
And he did, first warning the Rock Star that if he tried anything, like wearing a wire, he’d go right to the tabloids. Plus he was bringing his “sweep” to make sure they weren’t being recorded any other way. The Rock Star played it just nervous enough to convince him to come over and do their business before Lover got back. (The Reporter had either forgotten, or never paid attention to, what a consummate performer the Rock Star was. And he didn’t even own a “sweep.”)
Twin was in shock, too. She couldn’t figure out how Lover had found her. Well, that wasn’t important. Maybe this was an unexpected opportunity she could use. A girl could always use a little extra cash and, since the Reporter wasn’t there, he’d never need to know.
“Well,” she slurred. “Look who’s here.”
“I can’t believe it’s you. Mommy told me …”
“Oh, who gives a damn what Mommy told you.”
“But you don’t understand.”
“I don’t needa understand nothing. Now get outta here,” she said, waving her hand and turning away from the door. She knew that’d make Lover even more determined.
“Look,” said Lover. “I don’t know why you’re in L.A. and I don’t know why you’re hooked up with that son-of-a-bitch, but he’s no good, Twin. I came over here to tell you that … and something else.” Lover could feel himself starting to lose it. The tears were threatening now. Taking a breath, he said it.
Twin’s face screwed up into a big smirk. “Huh, that’s all you got to say to me? ‘I’m sorry’? After all the shit I been through to protect yo’ ass?” She took a hit off the blunt, keeping her eye on him. Exhaling, she took a swig off the beer. “You ain’t got a clue, do ya?”
“Yeah, I do, Twin. I know what happened to you. I don’t know why or how all this happened to you, but I do know what you’ve been through. And yeah, I came to say that I’m sorry and to give you this.”
Lover held out the envelope, the one with the letter he’d written to Twin when they’d thought the Intern would find her in Maryland. Twin’s eyes gave her away. She thought it was money.
“Look, Twin Bro, even you can’t buy me off that easy.” She took the envelope and threw it on the ground.
“It’s not money,” said Lover, picking it up and cleaning it off.
“Well, then, it really ain’t worth nothing, is it?” said Twin. “What could possibly be in there that I’d want?”
Lover’s tears couldn’t be held back.
“Me.” He bent down and placed the envelope at her feet. Straightening up, he said, “I hope you decide to read it.” Then he turned around and walked back to the Housekeeper’s borrowed car, got in and drove away.
Twin watched as her brother drove out of the apartments’ parking lot and around the corner. When he was out of sight, she picked up the envelope and, shutting the door, opened it and read,
My dear Twin,
I know this comes as a surprise, hearing from me after all this time. There’s a reason. I only this week found out that you are still alive. Mommy told that you’d overdosed at fifteen. Why I believed her is something we can talk about later.
I know about your life and I’m sure you know about mine. I’ve been blessed, truly blessed and I feel that I owe all of it to you. Yes, I owe you my life, Twin, in so many ways. More importantly I’m responsible for your life, both the one you have now and the one you really deserve for all of your sacrifices.
Did you know I have a daughter, too? She’s four years old now and has a five-year-old brother. I’d love to introduce them to their aunt and cousin. Please consider getting in touch with me. If you can understand how all this happened it would mean the world to me.
You are my twin and my twin soul. There are no words I can think of to tell you how sorry I am that things turned out for you the way they did, or how much I want to hear your voice. PLEASE call me. You can me call collect at x.xxx.xxx.xxxx or write me back at this post office box if you want. I want you in my life again. I’m hoping you want me back, too.
With so much love,
Your Twin Brother
Chapter 36 – SOMETIMES IT WORKS
Even a hard-ass like Twin could feel the letter touch her heart. When Niecy came out from the back room she found her mother on the floor by the door, crying like the worst thing in the world had happened. Niecy got really scared and went to Mama and sat beside her. Mama pulled her into her lap. “That must have been a really bad man,” she thought. “Mama doesn’t like me to touch her.”
After a while Twin got up and, taking the last hit off the blunt and finishing off the beer, told Niecy that she was going out to make a phone call and not to tell anyone (especially the Reporter) that the man had come by. Niecy promised not to; she could see how serious Mama was. She was scared, though.
So many things had happened to them lately. Getting away from that Pimp man, the one and his friends who’d hurt her so bad at night when Mama was at work, the long drives to New York and across country with her mostly sleeping in the back seat, only stopping to go to the bathroom (which wasn’t often). Being hungry most of the time because the Mean Man didn’t want to spend too much money. And then being put here in this apartment, with no phone, no TV, no games (just her crayons, her dollie and some paper she’d brought with her from home), no friends and nobody but that new Man coming to see them and then going away.
Niecy could see her mother in the phone booth. She was talking to somebody and it looked like she was crying.
Lover was at a stop light when the cell rang. He looked at the ID but didn’t recognize the number. Then he realized the area code was the one for the part of town Twin was stashed in. He pulled into a parking lot and took the call just as Twin was about to hang up.
“Yeah,” she sniffled. “I read your goddamn letter. Are you serious? All these years you really thought I was dead?”
“That’s what Mommy told me.” Lover was so relieved that his tears were back. “I didn’t know what to do. She told me never to go back to the neighborhood or the Pimp Dealer would kill me like he’d killed you because you’re my Twin and somehow he’d found out about me and Snake. I already felt so guilty about Snake and now it sounded like I’d killed you, too. I’m so sorry. I believed her so I did what she told me because I was scared, too. I’m so sorry, Twin. I would have come and gotten you if I’d known. I swear I would’ve come.”
Twin could hear that what Lover was saying was true. They’d always been like that, able to tell what the other really meant when they said something.
“Look,” she said, “how far away are you? Can you come back down here so we can talk some?” She chuckled. “I’ll even see if I can clean myself up.”
This would be the tricky part. Lover knew that Angel was dealing with the Reporter at the house. Evidently Twin didn’t know that or she would have called him on it first thing. Lover had to check in with Angel first to see how much time they had. This could get nasty fast if the Reporter came back too soon and found Twin and Niecy gone.
“Oh God, I’ll be right there. Give me about ten minutes, OK? In fact, are you hungry? Maybe if there’s somewhere on the way I could stop and pick up something.”
Twin and Niecy were hungry. They depended on the Reporter to bring them food and a lot of times he forgot.
“Yeah, that would be good,” said Twin. “I think my girl could eat a little something.”
“Then add another five minutes to that and I’ll be right there. Oh, and Twin? Thank you.”
“Yeah, well, we’ll see.”
Lover hung up and immediately called Angel on the throwaway cell he’d bought with the number he’d put in the letter. He and Angel had worked out a signal. If things went well and Lover needed another hour or so, he’d call and Angel would just let the phone ring. He’d act like his meeting with the Reporter was too important to be interrupted. The Reporter would like that, it seeming like he was important. And if he wanted proof that it hadn’t been Lover calling, the cell would just say “service call.”
Angel had tried hard to think of everything to protect Lover. He’d done a very, very good job.
When Lover got back to Twin’s, this time she looked better. She’d cleaned up some, her hair brushed back, her face clean. She’d even changed her clothes. The pizza smell already in the apartment would mask the shrimp pasta and salad Lover had stopped off to get. And there were sodas and cookies, too. Niecy felt like it was Christmas. So did Mama.
They all sat around the small table in the kitchen. Mama introduced Lover to Niece. “This is Lover,” she said. “He’s my brother and your Uncle.”
The little girl’s eyes opened wide, her mouth full of the pasta and soda. She’d never met any of her relatives before. And this wasn’t just a Nice Man, he was her Uncle, too! She couldn’t stop herself. Swallowing everything at once, she went flying out of her chair, rushing into Lover’s arms and giving him one of the best squeezie hugs he’d ever gotten. Mama was so happy she didn’t even seem to mind.
The rest of the meal was filled with smiles and names of people the little girl had never heard of before. It sounded like Mama and Uncle knew a lot of the same people. They didn’t explain who was who. The girl had learned a long time ago not to ask questions and just to wait until Mama told her things. It had been a hard life for her, too, just as hard as life had been for Mama.
After they finished eating, Niecy was sent off to draw again while Twin and Lover talked in the kitchen. Twin had shut the door to the bedroom where Niecy was drawing so she couldn’t hear everything, but she could feel that the two adults were talking about something serious.
Tomorrow in “Children” – Twin’s secret