Graduation Present

Chapter Nine

Kellen just looked at his brother waiting for the shouting to start. Once the news sat in, Camden would disown him. Kellen knew it. Any minute.

You're what?" Camden asked wide-eyed trying to make sure he heard right. "What did you just say?" He asked with a softer voice after seeing Kellen look down. He watched as Kellen lowered his head and started to cry even harder. Camden got up out of his seat and moved to sit down next to Kellen. He put his arms around him and pulled his brother close to him. "Wow. You're gay, but I still love you. You are my brother and nothing will ever change that Kellen."

Kellen looked up at his brother suddenly. "You mean you aren't going to disown me or tell me how bad and sick I am? Or'or'that you are a' ashamed of me being related to you?" He stuttered. Tears were willing themselves out of his eyes and down his cheeks.

Now, why would I ever say anything like that? I love you. I could never say that about my little brother. Why would you even think that?"

I don't know, I just thought. Oh, I don't know. Society condemns this so much. I am just scared that everyone will think I am some kind of messed up deviant or something." Kellen cried shaking from the sobs. "I was so scared to tell you. I was certain that you'd hate me."

Well, as long as you don't leave your whips, chains, and handcuffs laying around for me to see." Camden said trying to lighten the mood.

W'wh'what? I would never!" Kellen said flabbergasted. Camden just laughed at him.

Come on, kid. Learn to laugh a little. You are too serious." Camden said in-between giggles.

Ya know, you sure are taking this very well for someone who found out that his brother is gay." Kellen said looking at Camden.

Well let's see, I could be mad or I could be thankful that you weren't telling me you had a fatal disease or something." He said. Kellen put on a serious face and turned his head down again. "Wait, you aren't trying to tell me that you're dying are you?" Now his heart was starting to beat faster. He couldn't lose his brother.

Gotcha." Kellen said looking up laughing.

I am gonna get you for that one. Payback is a bitch, little bro. And apparently, so are you."

Did you just call me a bitch?" Kellen asked. Camden just nodded his head. "I can't believe just you called me a bitch. How'd you like to see how bitchy I can be?"

Oh, come on Kellen. I'm only kidding." Camden said watching Kellen stick his tongue out at him. "Are we ready to go yet? I figured while you're here, we could at least shop."

Kellen finished drinking his coffee and looked over at his brother. "You're right. I just came into millions of dollars. I have to spend it some way right? I may as well spend it on myself." He said wiping his mouth.

I agree. Only, I think it'll take more than millions of dollars to make you look pretty."

Fuck you." Kellen said pushing his brother out of the booth.

Uh, I think I'll pass on that invitation."

What makes you think it was an invitation. That's just wrong. You are my brother for crying out loud." Kellen said making a sour face.

Let's just go." Camden ordered pulling his brother from the seat. They walked out of the cafe and through the lobby. Camden looked curiously at Kellen as his brother clipped an ID to his shirt while walking over to the front desk.

Hello Sir. How can we be of assistance?" The day manager asked looking at Kellen.

Yes, I'm with Nsync's party. My room is on the 15th floor, room 1518. This is my brother Camden Bradley. He is to have access to both floors while we are here." Kellen directed at the man behind the desk.

Yes Sir. We can certainly take care of that. Simply slide this card through the scanner on the elevator car and it will take you to the restricted floors or you can show this pass to the young man on the elevator and he'll take you." The manager said handing Camden a piece of paper

Thank you" Camden replied. The two brothers walked out. Camden gave his car ticket to the doorman and waited for them to bring the car around. When the parking attendant brought the car around they got in and drove through late morning traffic.

How do I look in this?" Kellen said holding a sweater to his chest.

Isn't it a little early for winter clothes?" Camden said. "I mean, It's only what the end of July? You'll buy it now, and when you get back to Oklahoma you'll wish you hadn't bought it."

True, but if David can't return for the second leg of the tour, I'll be touring this winter. Besides, I can buy summer clothes while on the break." Kellen rationalized.

Well, I must admit, It does look good on you. How much is it?"

One-hundred and fifty"

Go ahead and get it."

They spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon going from store to store. After they had lunch, they stopped by Bradley's so that Kellen could see some of the props for the upcoming commercials.

Hey Kellen?" Camden asked looking at a financial spreadsheet.

Yeah?" Kellen replied absentmindedly

What time do you need to be back at the hotel?"

Well, I have a sound check at 5:00. So I should be back at least by 4:00 so I can get to the Gardens in time. Why?"

Well, It's 3:00 now. Why don't we head back to the hotel? I don't want to be responsible for you being late." Camden said putting things away.

Oh, ok. Yeah, we should get going." Kellen said looking at his watch. He started putting papers back in their files.

The interviews had gone okay for the guys, however, JC wasn't cheerful and the guys all knew it. Though none of them knew what was going on, they were gonna find out.

Guys, I don't want to do the sound check today. I'm just not into it. Can we call Ibra and have it moved to tomorrow morning?" JC asked as they got into the limo.

I guess we could call. I don't know whether he'll go for it or not. We can try." Lance said pulling out his cell phone. The limo drove on in silence except for Lance who was talking on his cell.

What's the word?" JC asked as Lance Flipped his phone shut.

The word is, there is no sound check today. We do, however, get to do it tomorrow morning at 10:00. Everyone has to be up by 8:30."

Thanks, Scoop. I owe you one."

JC, I don't mean to pry, but what's with you today? You've been a little short. I mean we all hate Carson." Joey said emphasizing the word 'hate', "But, you never act like that during an interview. And during the shoot, you weren't into it. You were there, but you weren't. So, what's wrong?"

I don't want to talk about it." JC said closing himself off. "It's my thing to worry about."

Wrong." Chris said looking at JC. "If we have to cancel a sound check, then it becomes the group's thing to worry about."

Face it, Dude, you're telling us." Justin said looking towards Lance who nodded in agreement.

JC looked at each of the guys in the limo. He looked down at his feet and started talking in a low voice remembering the events at the hotel. "I saw Kellen with another man this morning."

There was a sudden outburst of "What are you talking about", and "How could he?"

Lance had been talking to Kellen for eight months and things weren't adding up. "That doesn't sound like Kellen. Are you sure it was him?"

Yes, I'm sure. I think I would know my own boyfriend. What? You don't believe me?"

Yes JC I believe you saw Kellen, it just doesn't sound like something Kellen would do. When did you see him, and what exactly did you see him do?" Lance asked.

I had talked to Kellen last night to see if he wanted to eat breakfast with us this morning. He said 'no' that he had 'things he needed to do today'. When I walked to the lobby this morning, I stopped in the cafe to get a coffee and I saw him sitting across the table with some guy. I was about to go up to the table to say hi to him, but when I saw him reach across the table and take the guys hand, I lost it and walked out." JC said recalling the events as he saw them. Tears started down his cheeks. He quickly wiped them away. He didn't want to talk about it anymore. He just wanted it all to be a dream. Kellen had told him he would never cheat on him. He wanted to believe Kellen, but he couldn't deny what he saw with his own eyes. Maybe there was another explanation, but what could it be?

Okay, so maybe this is a guy that Kellen knows." Lance said trying to help sooth JC and defend Kellen.

In New York?" Chris said, "I doubt that. He's from Oklahoma."

Jace, how bout this? When we get back to the hotel, you and I will go down and talk to Kellen. Maybe this is all a big misunderstanding." Justin said. "I'm sure he wouldn't deliberately hurt you like that. I've seen the way he looks at you. He's totally into you man."

Yeah, you're right. We can go talk to him and find out what's going on." JC rationalized as he wiped away the last bit of tears. Anything was better than thinking Kellen was with another guy cheating on him.

The two brothers arrived back at the hotel. After they pulled up, Camden gave his keys to the valet, and caught up with Kellen who was walking into the hotel. "Ya know, you could've stayed at my house while you were here. You're always welcome."

I know, but while I'm on this job, I have to stay with the group. Besides, it isn't all that bad. I get to spend a lot of time with my boyfriend." As quickly as the words left his mouth, Kellen wished he hadn't said anything. He quickly covered his mouth and looked sheepishly at his older brother.

Say wha? You didn't mention that you had a boyfriend this morning." Camden said looking at Kellen wanting to know who it was that had captured Kellen's heart.

Well, you never asked Cammy." Kellen said playfully jabbing his brother.

I'm asking now so tell me." He ordered eagerly wanting to know the goods.

When we get back to the room, I'll tell you." Kellen said wondering if it was all right to at least tell his family about JC. He wanted to respect JC's privacy, but this was family. Kellen noticed that Camden seemed to be moving a lot more quickly now. They got to the public elevator and walked in.

What floor Sirs?" the bellhop asked.

Fifteenth." Kellen replied

I'm sorry Sir, but that floor is restricted. I can't take you up without proper ID." The bellhop said. Kellen fished through his wallet and pulled out his Nsync Identification. "Of course Sir. Thank you." The elevator slowly moved to the 15th floor. When it finally reached Kellen's floor, they both got off, walked through the elevator corridor, and turned to go down the hall. Kellen slid the keycard through the lock and opened his door.

Ok, we're here so start talking."

What's to talk about? I have a boyfriend. That's all there is to tell." Kellen said taking things out of several bags.

Ya know, I'd hate to have to call Mom and tell her about all this." Camden said suggestively.

You wouldn't." Kellen said turning around.

You're right, I wouldn't, but I still want to know about this boyfriend of yours. What's his name? What does he do? Anything."

Promise me you won't tell anyone. Not even Mom and Dad." Kellen said n a serious tone.

O come on Kellen. You know me."

Promise me."

Ok, I promise."

Ok, first, his name is JC Chasez." Kellen said putting a shirt into his suitcase.

No fucking way! You're shittin me." Camden said surprised. "JC Chasez your hero? The same JC that is one-fifth of Nsync?"

One and the same."

Wow. That is, well it's good news I guess. You're both high profiles in a way. You in the business world and he in the entertainment world. I guess it also helps that you both work together."

Yeah, it does. I really like him."

I'm confused though. You told me you were gay, but you went out with Ashley. Forgive me, I may be a little slow." Camden said helping Kellen fold his new clothes.

Well, I really was interested in Ashley. I thought she felt the same way about me. I didn't think I would ever be in love like that ever again. Then I met JC. When I saw him in that elevator, I just knew there was something there." Kellen said thinking back to that day in Denver when his heart stopped and lightning bolts went off in his head.

So, was it fireworks?" Camden asked.

Well, for me it was."

So how did you two get together? You've only worked with them for almost a month, if that."

It was kind of weird. We were on our way here. I was helping JC write a song for their upcoming album and when we both stood up, the bus slammed on its brakes. We fell on top of each other and BAM! I don't think I could've resisted kissing him. He looked so good."

How did the rest of the guys take it? Or do they not know?"

They know. They walked in on us kissing on the floor."

I would love to have been a fly on the wall when that happened. I bet there was more suspense and tension on that bus than anywhere on the planet."

It wasn't comfortable that's for sure. We told them how we felt about each other and that we wanted to see where our relationship could go."

So you've only been going out for a week?"

Yes, but it's been a great week. He is so romantic Camden."

That's what I've heard. 'JC the Romantic' At least, that's what all their fans say." Camden said sitting in the chair across the room. "So, when is the tour over?"

Uh, let me think. We have a show tomorrow night, and then we go to Hershey, then to Joliet. After that, we go back to Orlando. I have some business to take care of there before I go back to Oklahoma." Kellen said zipping up his suitcase.

What kind of business are we talking about? Store business? If you need help with the store in Orlando, I can fly down." Camden offered.

Actually, I'm buying a house after the tour is over. I've been looking online at several reality companies, but I haven't found the house I like so I think I'm going to talk to beg Mom and Dad for the mansion in Orlando."

You're joking right." It was more like a statement than a question. "Does Mom know?"

Nope. And I want to be the one to tell her."

She is going wig." Camden said. "I glad you're telling her and not me."

Well, I'll be nineteen in a few days, I may as well start my life now. Get out on my own, ya know." Kellen put his suitcases on the floor and straightened his bed. Camden sat in the chair thinking about his brother. "Hey, I need to go. I have to be at the sound check and you need to go meet your wife for dinner."

Kellen grabbed his cell phone and walked over to the door. He opened it and held it open until Camden walked out. After he shut the door, Kellen turned around to face his older brother. "It was really good seeing you again. You don't know how much I've missed you. Call me later tonight okay."

Okay. It's been great seeing you again also. I've really missed you since last time you came up." Camden said. He moved closer to Kellen and put his arms around the eighteen-year-old for a brotherly hug. Kellen returned the favor. They shared a hug for about a minute before Kellen picked his brother up off the ground in a bear hug. "Man, I'm going to miss you Bro." They both started walking down the hall to the elevators. Camden pushed the down button and Kellen pushed the up button. They waited until two dings sounded and then each one got into his elevator.

The door opened and five guys walked into the five-bedroom suite. Lance went into his room to get more comfortable, Joey and Chris sat down and turned on the TV, JC walked in and stood watching the TV waiting for Justin to put his things away so they could go see Kellen. "Hey Curly, are you almost done in there? I want to go talk to Kellen." JC said fidgeting.

Yeah, I just need to grab my bandanna." Justin said tying the cloth on top of his head. "How do I look?"

Like an Idiot?" JC responded.

Ya know C, you're starting to get really cocky." Justin said looking at his best friend. "My little baby's all grown up." He said imitating JC's mom.

Oh, come on. Let's go." The two made their way out of the suite, down the hall, and to the elevator. When the doors opened, they both walked in.

Where to Sirs?" The doorman asked.

Floor 15." JC said getting more and more nervous with each passing second.

Hey" Justin said in a soft voice. "Don't worry C. Were gonna get this straightened out." He patted JC on the back as the elevator stopped.

JC's Point of View'.

The doors opened and Justin and I started walking out. We started walking down the corridor, just past the other elevators. As we came around the corner, I saw Kellen's door open and out walked the same guy I saw him with this morning. So many thoughts spun through my head. Kellen was with this guy all day. He even took him to his room. They say that you can feel your heart being ripped out and stumped on, well it's true. I quickly caught hold of thoughts and pulled Justin back around the corner. We both watched where Kellen couldn't see us. I could hear everything they said to each other. And it hurt.

It was really good seeing you again. You don't know how much I've missed you. Call me later tonight okay." I heard Kellen tell the guy.

Okay. It's been great seeing you again also. I've really missed you since last time you came up." The other guy responded.

Then I saw them grab each other in a hug. I lost it. The tears just started flowing. How could he do this to me? I thought he loved me. I had to get out of here. I turned around, pushed open the door and ran down the stairs. I knew Justin ran after me, but he was too late. He thought I went back upstairs. 'Good.' I thought. I needed to be alone. I couldn't stop thinking about what happened. Each flight of stairs brought another round of tears and I didn't stop running. After what seemed like an eternity, I came to the basement. I opened the door and ran out into the parking garage. I looked around at the different vehicles. Once I spotted the bus, I ran to it, entered the code on the door and stepped back as the door opened. Once on, I ran to my bunk and crawled in. I laid my head on the pillow and cried harder and harder. I don't know why. How could this be affecting me? We've only gone out for a week. But then I remembered what Bobbie did to me. She cheated on me also. I lavished her with gifts and affection and she cheated on me. Now it was obvious that Kellen was no different. I thought about everything they could have possibly done when they were in his room. Were their hands on each other? Did they rub each other, and please each other? I didn't know. I didn't want to know, because it hurt too much. As I laid there thinking about it, my hand caught something. I pulled it out from under my pillow.

Kellen's bandanna." I said to no one in particular. I brought the object to my face and inhaled his scent. I could smell the green apple shampoo Kellen used in his hair and a hint of the cologne he wore. I just brought my head down on it and cried again. What was wrong with me? Why did everyone I date have to do this to me? He should have known better after what his girlfriend did to him. He should have known better. I tried to stay awake, but my eyes got heavier and heavier and before I knew it, I was asleep.

Kellen's Point of View'

I waited for the elevator to stop on the next floor. When the doors opened, I walked out and made my way down the hall to the guys' suite. I couldn't wait to see Josh. I was so happy. My brother had accepted me. I couldn't wait to tell him. I knocked on the door and waited for one of the guys to open it.

Oh hey, Kellen. What's up?" Lance said motioning me to come inside. I walked in and saw Joey and Chris sitting on a couch. Lance walked past me and took his seat on one of the over-sized chairs.

I was wondering if Josh was around. I wanted to talk to him." I said

He and Justin left about 10 minutes ago. They said they were going to come talk to you." Chris said looking up from the TV

Hmmm'well, I haven't seen them. I'm ready to go to the sound check."

Oh, it's been cancelled. Jace hasn't felt very well today and didn't feel up to it tonight. We'll have tomorrow morning." Lance informed.

'JC didn't feel well' I thought. I started to worry about him. I hope he didn't catch something. I heard the suite door open and turned around. "There you are. Hey Justin, how's it going?"

I noticed that Justin looked like he had been running.

YOU SON OF A BITCH!" He yelled at me. Then, he started running at me. Before I could duck, I felt his arms tackle my waste. I tried to escape his grasp, but he was holding me too tight. Suddenly I felt an extreme pain in my back and my head as I hit the wall full force. My head started to spin and I could feel the wind being pulled out of me.

You mother fucking son of a bitch! How the fuck could you? He trusted you!" I heard Justin yelling. Then he began to violently shake me. I started to get dizzy and then I felt liquid coming out of my nose. Blood?

Justin!" I heard Lance yell. "What the hell are you doing?" Get the hell off him!"

Though my vision was blurred and the feeling of dizziness, I saw Joey and Chris run over and pull Justin off of me.

Let me go!" Justin yelled.

Not until you calm the fuck down." Lance said looking at Justin.

But you don't know what we saw. You didn't see him with his arms wrapped around that other guy. And you didn't hear the things they were saying to each other. You didn't see JC cry and run away with a broken heart."

I brought my hand to my face and felt the wet substance. Pulling my hand away, I saw my own blood. I hated seeing blood. It made me nauseous. I tried to get up and get out of there. I couldn't risk Justin getting free from their grasp. I gripped the wall and used it to help me stand. As I stood, I felt the dizziness come over me, but I made it to the door. I shut the door listening to the four of them arguing. I ran down the hall towards the elevators. I staggered into the only opened car and pushed the lobby button. I had to lean against the walls to balance myself. 'Thank Goodness no one else needed to go to the lobby' I thought thinking of what people would say looking at my present appearance. Suddenly I remembered something that Justin had said, 'You didn't see JC cry and run away with a broken heart.'

Oh my God. Josh thinks that I cheated on him with Camden? He ran away." I said out loud. I had to find Josh and straighten things out. Even if I was bleeding and dizzy, I had to find my boyfriend."

God Justin, I can't believe you!" Lance said with a raised voice. He turned his attention to Kellen, but no one was there. "Oh fuck!" He said looking at the spot where Kellen fell. He expected to see Kellen laying there but instead saw several dozen bloodstains in the carpet and several long smears on the wall leading towards the door. "Oh my God, he's bleeding." Lance just stood there motionless. JC was missing, Justin assaulted Kellen, and now Kellen was wondering around bleeding, and by the looks of it, badly.

Joey and Chris let Justin go and ran to the door to go find Kellen. As they started to run out into the hall, they slid to a stop almost running into the very man Justin saw Kellen with.

Justin looked up and started glaring at the man.

Hi. Um sorry to interrupt, but have you seen Kellen Bradley? I left my cell phone in his room." The man said looking from Joey to Chris then to Lance and finally Justin.

That's the guy!" Justin almost sneered.

Who are you?" Joey asked looking at the guy.

Oh, I'm sorry. Where are my manners, my name is Camden Bradley? I'm Kellen's older brother."

Three jaws dropped. Lance, Joey, and Chris looked at Justin. He looked down at the floor, rubbing his temples, repeating the same thing over and over. "Oh God, what have I done? What have I done?"


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