Life hasn’t been fair to this family. You, your father, your grandfather, and I know how life can throw the worst of curveballs. My life here is short, and when you read this I’m betting I’m already dead. Or I will be soon. I have given each of these letters a lot of thought. What I want to say to each one of my lovely sons, daughter, grandsons, and granddaughters. You, I am finding more than difficult to write. You’re one of the most amazing people I know. I miss your smile around the house, and your sense of humor. Laughter still fills the halls, but there’s no one opening doors and singing or dancing. No one barging in my room to demand an audience for his latest performance. I miss the times you would come in our little apartment and talk to Grandpa and I. Since the accident I have missed all of that.
I want you to do something for me, as my dying wish. I would like you to return to singing. You have a gift, Jamie. A gift so majestic and powerful that it would be a shame if you kept it to yourself and only sang to Kyle. I know it’s not dancing. You may never be able to dance again, but you can still be a performer on that stage. You once dreamed to be on the Broadway stage. I want you to dream again. That wheelchair of yours shouldn’t dictate who you are—you are a true performer, Jamie. Please, do this for me, and find your passion once again.
One last thing, and I am telling this to each one of my loved ones, protect your grandpa. Parker may be strong, but he’s not. He’s had a tough and rough past, and I am afraid that my death will kill him. You know more than anyone how close he’s come to take his life before. You know those feelings. Talk to him. Check up on him. Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid like using his gun on himself. He needs you, like you needed him.
I love you so much,
A little over three years have passed since my grandmother passed away. It wasn’t until six months ago that I opened the envelope. Grandma’s words were all I had left of her, and I hadn’t been ready. None of us had been ready then, and I still wasn’t ready to let go now. After I read the letter I cried a good while. Grandma’s wish was the last thing I wanted to do, but it was also something that I dreamed about nightly. The stage was where I was meant to be. After a quick cry, and a long discussion with myself, I decided it was time to set out for my dream—no matter how difficult it was going to be.
It was difficult. Six months later and I still hadn’t found an opening for any production that was willing to accept a disabled person in their cast. The day before I went to try for the part of Dr. Everett V. Scott in Rocky Horror Picture Show. They thanked me for my enthusiasm, but declined to use me. It was hopeless. If I couldn’t even get a part of a disabled character in a wheelchair, then what chances did I have on stage?
“What if you ask your mom,” Carter asked over dinner.
“I want to do this on my own,” I said as I stabbed my food.
“Just her name could get you past a first audition,” Sara reminded me. She was right, just saying I was the son of Riddle Moss would get me more of a standing than the average joe. However, I lived my entire life without even once using my parents name to get me anywhere. I shook my head. I couldn’t do that to my integrity. “What harm could it do, Jamie?”
“Its better to have a doorman to open the door, then to wrestle with pulling it open, Jamie. Use the resources you have, call your mom and have her help you get a second audition.” Carter suggested.
I looked between Carter and Sara. They were both right. If I wanted to get my foot in the door, I needed help. I called Mom after dinner. When she answered, her voice made me smile. “Hey, Mom.”
“Hey! Kal it’s Jamie! How’s my little grandson doing?”
“Good. He loves Kindergarten. Um, Mom, I have a favor to ask.” When she didn’t say anything else I continued. “I’ve been trying to get my foot into show biz. Mostly Off-Broadway productions around town. No one’s taking me serious.”
“And I was hoping if, maybe, the famous Riddle Moss could put a word in?”
Mom laughed, “Oh really? You’re going to finally acknowledge you know the famous Riddle Moss after all the years?”
“It couldn’t hurt,” I added with a smile she couldn’t see. “I’m getting more doors slammed in my face than I imagined. Might as well use something to my advantage. Having one of the top sexiest actresses of all time as a mother would help.”
“Flattery, Jamie. Impressive. I’ll make some calls. I know a handful of producers out there, I’m sure I could get you something. Is there any particular show you’re interested in?”
“Rocky Horror Picture Show? Ron Peters is the casting director, if that helps.”
“Sure does. Ron’s an old-timer like your mother. Give me a few days, and I’ll have a couple auditions lined up for you.”
“You’re welcome. I can finally say you’re my son without you getting embarrassed by me.”
With that she and I said our love you’s and goodbyes.
Three days later I was auditioning once again for Rocky Horror Picture Show as Frank-N-Frurter’s nemesis, Dr. Everett V. Scott. As I finished singing and giving what the producers wanted in the way of my acting skills, they thanked me and said they would call me. As I left, the head producer, Ron Peters, followed me out and held the doors open for me. “So, your mother says I’d be crazy not to consider you.”
I grinned at him, “Don’t all mothers say that about their sons?”
He chuckled, “Yes, I believe they do. However, when Riddle Moss boasts about her kids, one tends to listen. You know, your resume doesn’t have that bit of info on it.”
I shrugged, “I don’t usually boast about my parents. Their success is theirs.” I rolled in front of him and stopped. “I don’t want to ride their coattails, and I never planned on asking for their help. I want to be successful due to my talent and not because my mom is Riddle Moss. But I’m not stupid, sometimes you need help to get your foot in the door.”
“You’re absolutely right. I’ll let you know in about a week.”
“Thank you, again, Mr. Peters.” I shook his hand and left, catching the bus down the street.
At home I found Carter and Sara arguing and Kyle playing with his trucks while the Disney channel was on the TV. I ignored the argument in the kitchen and joined Kyle. Eventually, Carter stormed out the back door to the back yard, and Sara joined Kyle and I. She sat next to me and I impulsively rubbed her huge pregnant belly. She was almost eight months pregnant and showing it.
It was strange to think that only seven-plus months ago Carter and Sara weren’t even friends, much less a couple. Then, New Years Eve happened. We had thrown a huge party with all of our friends. Carter and his military guys, I invited Pear and Anna since Carter forgot to, and Penny because she was visiting, and Sara. I didn’t expect to wake up later (or early depending on how you look at it) in the night and hear sounds coming from Carter’s room. The walls started to shake, and I groaned in my haze. It wasn’t until I woke again to find Sara sneaking out of the house. Six weeks later she was crying in my arms about her being pregnant and she wasn’t sure who the father was.
There were three potential fathers. Some random hookup she met just a week after New Years. Her ex who didn’t want anything to do with her or the baby, and he would only pay her child support if she could prove he was the father. Carter, however, told her what she needed to hear. That he would help her raise the baby even if he wasn’t the biological father. Slowly over the last seven months they went from being just friends who were potential parents, to a lovey-dovey couple, who made kissing noises, and grossed me out. Unless they were arguing—which was the basis of their friendship.
“What happened now,” I asked.
“He tried to propose. I told him I wasn’t going to marry him just because I looked like a whale. Besides, we don’t even know if the baby is his, and if it turns out it isn’t his, then what? I’m not doing that to Carter, but he refuses to listen to reason. He wants to make things right.” She air quoted. “Uhg, he frustrates me. Why can’t I have found a normal, sane man?”
“Carter’s sane…ish.” We both laughed. “He loves you, that’s gotta count for something.”
“Yeah, but until I’m back to looking like a normal being and not like I swallowed Pinocchio, he’s going to have to wait to even think about putting a ring on my finger.”
* * * *
Three long weeks later Sara’s water broke early and on the way to the hospital, I received a phone call from Ron Peters telling me I got the part in the play. I hung up and screamed in agony as Sara squeezed my hand in the back of her Sedan while Carter used Nascar speeds to get us to the hospital. “Who…was…that?” Sara asked in between her deep breathing exercises.
“Peters. I got the part.”
“Reall-ooooooowwwww,” Sara screamed and I followed. Holy shit, did she have a grip.
When she let up on my hand, I placed her hand on my leg and shook out my hand. “Squeeze my leg before you kill what feeling I have in my hand.”
Sara glared at me.
She stayed silent, and continued her breathing exercises. She contracted once more and her nails pushed into my leg. It was so much better than her killing my hand. My leg would probably bruise, but at least I didn’t have to feel the pain. We reached the hospital and Carter jumped out of the car and ran into the emergency doors. Soon a few nurses with a wheelchair came running out with Carter in the lead. The nurse opened the door, took one look, and asked for another nurse to get a doctor. “Ma’am, we can’t move you.”
“What?” Sara yelled.
“Your baby is crowning. You’re going to have to deliver in the car. Sir, if you can help her sit up a bit. Use your legs if you have to, to prop her up.”
“He can’t.” Carter and I said together. “He’s paralyzed.”
“Doesn’t matter, just try to get her to scoot down by the door and lay against him. This is going to hurt, Ma’am.”
“You think,” Sara screamed.
A doctor ran out along with a few more nurses. I helped Sara get propped up and ready for her to push. I placed both her hands on my thighs. When Sara was directed to push, she used my thighs to help her push as hard as she could. Three long pushes later Sara and I heard a baby’s cry. “It’s a girl!” exclaimed the doctor. He handed the baby to a nurse. “Let’s get mama and the baby inside.”
By the time I was helped out of the car, Sara was well on her way to the OB department followed by an eager Carter. Thankfully a nice nurse helped me with my own wheelchair.
They named her Ashely Lynn Styx. Sara and Carter argued for about a day about the last name. He swore he didn’t care if she was blood or not, he was still going to raise her and he’d be damned if any other guy tried to say he was the father. They still did a paternity test, but Carter was still adamant that he wanted Ashely to have his last name.
Within a day of the test and just as they were getting discharged, the results came back. I took them from Carter’s hands and did my best Maury impression. “Carter, you say you’re the father, and still wants to be that father no matter what. Well, I have the results.” Carter rolled his eyes at the horrible impression, but he still smiled as I ripped open the envelope. “Carter…you are the father.”
Carter didn’t cheer. Instead, he kissed Sara harder than I had ever seen him kiss her. They were hot and passionate. I sat there and smiled at them. Carter pulled back from the sloppy, heated kiss and said, “Told you.” He picked up Ashely from Sara’s arms and kissed her forehead. “My baby girl. Yes, you are my baby girl and no one can take you away from me.”
“Kyle has a baby sister,” I pointed out.
“He does,” Carter agreed. “And he’s going to be the best big brother. Now, then, you two lets head home and pick up the little squirt from Pear’s. God knows what kind of stuff Pear’s been teaching him.”
We picked up Kyle at Pear and Anna’s and visited with them for a while with the new baby. They were all thrilled with the news that Ashely was Carter’s. We explained to Kyle that Ashely was his baby sister. He vowed to be the best big brother in the world. Carter even helped Kyle hold his baby sister.
“Did you call Mom and Dad?” Anna finally asked when we were sitting on their couch. The boys—Kyle, Ryan, and Anthony (Pear’s twin boys) —left to pick up the rest of the toys in their room.
“I called them as we left the hospital. They’re on their way.” He stood, “Which means, we better be on our way. Kyle! Come on, bud, we gotta get home so Me-Maw and Pop-Pop can come visit.”
Kyle, Ryan and Anthony all ran into the living room. Ryan and Anthony immediately begged to go with us. Anna promised them that their grandparents would visit them too. By the time we left Pear’s house, and got home, Uncle Casey’s red jeep was pulling up alongside us.
For three days we had a full house and a screaming baby. The night before Uncle Casey and Aunt Rose left, Carter, Casey, and I smoked a few cigars out back in celebration. We could hear Ashely scream from inside. “I don’t ever remember Kyle screaming like that,” I pointed out.
“He was five months old when he came here, Jamie,” Carter yelled over the screaming sound. “He already learned how to sleep all night, and we didn’t really have much problems with him during the day.” The screaming was piercing, and Carter growled in frustration. Between the screaming and the feedings and everything in between Carter hadn’t slept much in the last three days. “Somebody turn her off.”
Casey laughed, “Yeah, because your daughter came with an on and off switch. It doesn’t work like that son.”
“She takes after her mother, because there’s no way in hell I screamed like that for this long.”
Casey laughed hard, “Carter, when you were born, I was lucky to get two hours of uninterrupted sleep at home. And then there was this little guy,” Casey patted my shoulder, “Who didn’t help my case when I went to work. Both of you had a set of lungs that could rival Ash.”
My cheeks warmed up as I blushed. And Carter just rolled his eyes, but agreed with his father. Kyle opened and closed the back door and crawled over into my lap. “Can someone tell sister, I have school in the morning? I’m tired, Papa.”
“I think we all are, but your sister doesn’t know this. She’s just getting used to the world. It’s scary.” I told him and rubbed his back. “Hey, why don’t you ask Dad and Pop-Pop if they can pitch a tent down at the beach for the two of us, and we can have a camp out?”
Kyle’s head snapped up, and he looked to his dad and grandfather with pleading eyes. “Please Daddy? Please Pop-Pop?” He clasped his hands and held them up. “Please let Papa and I camp out, please?”
“Only if Me-Maw and I can join you, squirt.” Casey said. “Your Papa is going to need help down there.” Casey glanced at me and winked. We knew that we weren’t just doing it for Kyle, but for our sanity as well. Poor Carter, he wasn’t going to like us abandoning ship without him.
Carter chucked the last of his cigar in the trash after putting it out. “Guess, I better go grab the tents for you guys. Maybe I can beg Sara to join you. A guy needs sleep.”
“Good luck with that. When she slaps you, can I watch?” I teased. He gave me the finger as he went into the house. Uncle Casey and I laughed at him. I patted Kyle, “Okay Ky, go get ready. Pack a bag and we’ll head down to the beach with Me-Maw and Pop-Pop.”
“Yay!” Kyle screamed as he ran inside.
In the morning Rose helped me get Kyle up from the tent and ready for school while Uncle Casey took down the tents. I gazed up the hill to the house. It was silent from the beach. The four of us were well rested, even after having a night of marshmallows with Kyle and staying up late telling ghost stories. Uncle Casey and I chatted a bit about the night before as he tore down the tent. Kyle was making his way up the hill with his Grandma to finish getting ready for school.
“Thanks, Uncle Case,” I said as he rolled the last tent.
“Being here. Helping Carter and Sara. For helping me, too. And last night. You know Kyle worships you.”
“He’s a great kid. You and Carter are doing right by him, and I’m glad to be here. My son and I may have our differences, and I’m glad to be back in his life. That Ash, she’s going to give him hell when she grows up, and that’ll be my sweet payback.”
I laughed, “I have a feeling Kyle is going to give us hell.”
“Oh no doubt, and when he does Kaliq and I will be toasting to it.” Casey winked. “Carter wasn’t the only one that ever gave us hell.”
Casey pushed me up the hill and I hurried and got dressed and ready for my first day of rehearsal. By the time I had showered and cleaned up, Aunt Rose and Uncle Casey were off with Kyle to school and to Pear’s house to see the other two grandchildren. Carter drove me to the theater. He hugged me and wished me good luck.
Months passed, and I was sitting in the dressing room, nervous about the opening of the show. My first real, professional performance and I had butterflies. I wasn’t even the leading star, but I still was shaking like crazy. Isaac Dream sat next to me and leaned over. “Don’t be nervous, kid. You’re going to be amazing.”
I turned to see him dressed in Riff Raff’s attire, “Aren’t you nervous?”
“Nah. I just picture everyone in the audience naked.”
I rolled my eyes, “Why not just picture Fizz naked?” I motioned to the kid that was playing Rocky.
“Because he already is.”
I nodded, my eyes were on Fizz’s golden, tight, snug shorts that did nothing to hide…anything. He was…hot. I felt beads of sweat on my forehead. Was it hot in here?
Isaac laughed, “Oh, man, does someone have a crush on Fizz Dodger?” His laugh deepen as my cheeks flushed. “Oh wow, Jay. Really?”
“Shut it. He’s hot. And those shorts.” I rotated my head a little as I checked out Fizz from behind. He was flamboyant and fun, and I absolutely adored his ass—er—I mean his personality.
Isaac punched my shoulder, “Nice. You’d love to get into them.”
“Yeah,” I sighed, and quickly as it came out of my mouth, I blinked and straightened up. “I mean…” Isaac’s laughs drowned out the rest I was saying. Damn. Isaac left my table still laughing. I was going to go after him, but the five minute curtain call was made and I still needed to fix my makeup and try to cover up the damn blush.
The show was a success, or at least that’s what it appeared to be. Isaac caught me back stage, “You did good, kid.”
“You think so?” I honestly wanted to know. I was a nervous wreck. My solo I felt was okay, but I know I could have done better. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous about being on stage until this evening. In high school it was easy, and I practically owned the stage—but being in a wheelchair, and working in a professional capacity, it really messed with my head. I needed good reviews or I was never going to make it.
“Jay, man, you rocked that stage. We all did.”
“I hope so.” I sighed. “I haven’t been on stage in years. Since before…” I patted my chair. “I was an incredible dancer.”
“I bet you were, kid. You have that aura around you. Too bad I missed my chance to see it.” He and I stopped at our changing tables and he helped me change out of my costume. It wasn’t his job, but he offered and I didn’t want to wait for costume to get to me. “You want to get some drinks sometime?”
“Just as friends?” Isaac cleared up.
“Sure. I guess.” I shrugged. “Thanks, man.” I said after he helped me, and headed to change out of his own costume.
“No worries. I’ll catch you later.”
Carter, Mom, and Dad were outside when I left waiting for me. Mom hugged me the moment she saw me. “Brilliant, just absolutely brilliant.”
“Thanks.” I blushed.
Isaac and Fizz followed out behind me, and Fizz stopped in his tracks. “Holy fuck, you’re Riddle Moss?” His mouth dropped. “Jay, man, how do you know her?”
“She’s my Mom.” I pointed to Fizz, “Mom, that’s Fizz, he played Rocky. And behind him is my buddy, Isaac.”
She hugged both of them, and I could have sworn Fizz was going to pass out. Dad laughed and smacked his back, “Get used to it. She hugs all her fans.”
“You boys want to grab dinner with us? We’re taking Jamie out to eat,” Mom asked.
Isaac searched behind him, and in front. I knew he was looking for someone. “I’d love too, but I need to go search for my lovely wife. Fizz can, right?”
“Hell yes!” He cleared his throat, “I mean, I’d, uh, love too.” His blush was cute, especially as it deepened as Mom and Dad laughed. Carter wheeled me out while Mom took Fizz under her arm to talk to him.
“She’s going to kill him if she keeps doing that,” Carter joked. “Poor kid.”
“Mhmmm,” I sighed as I stared again at Fizz’s ass. “He’d be hot in bed.”
Carter stopped the chair momentarily, and I realized I had said my thoughts out loud. “Whoa, dude, no.” He shook his head violently to try and get whatever image popped in his head. “Mind saving your own thoughts in your own head, please?”
“What? He’s hot. And his ass…” I may have licked my lips and moaned. “Yup, I wouldn’t mind getting inside those pants.”
“Oh God, Jamie. Shut it. Please.”
I grinned up at Carter, “You know you love me.”
Isaac and I got lunch weekly after the first show ended. I learned his youngest was the same age as Jamie and we even started having “play dates.” Lyric and Jamie were becoming the best of buds, and I was gaining a newfound best friend—one that didn’t judge my sexuality. He embraced it.
“You ask Fizz out yet?” Isaac asked me one afternoon. Our boys were in Kyle’s room playing, and making ton of explosion sounds.
“No. I get too nervous. Why? Did he say something to you?”
Isaac shrugged, “Maybe.” And to be mysterious and frustrating, he added, “Maybe not.”
“You’re toying with me.”
“Yup. You guys would look good together.”
“Try telling my roommate that. If I even bring up a guy I like, he runs the other way.”
“And his girlfriend?”
“She’s been so busy with Ash, she and I haven’t sat down and talked. And if she does get the time, usually Carter’s around. It frustrates me, because I don’t have anyone to talk about this. I like Fizz, and I just, I don’t know what the fuck I should do. I haven’t dated since I graduated high school. Not to mention, I haven’t gotten any since Kyle’s mother—and she was a she.”
“Then it’s settled. Why don’t you just ask him out? Then after screw his brains out…somehow.” He patted my legs. “You can still do it, right?”
“I fathered a kid, remember? It may have been a while, but I still remember how to do it. And the equipment works…sorta.”
Isaac laughed, “Good. As long as it works. Anyways, I better get Lyric home or his mother may shoot me. Good luck with Fizz…if you get the balls to ask him.”
“Fuck you, I got the balls.”
“Prove it.” And with that, he left to get his son from Kyle’s room, leaving me speechless.
Four days later I had the opportunity to prove it. We just finished performing for a sold out crowd. He was getting undressed when I rolled up to him. I stopped and watched him search for his gym shorts in his bag naked. He was completely naked. My eyes were transfixed on him. “You want something, Jay?” Fizz first called me Jay during the first months of rehearsals. It stuck, and everyone was calling me Jay around the theater.
“Yeah, you.” I said out loud. Fizz laughed, and I realized I said my thoughts out loud again. I quickly fixed my mistake, “I mean I was, uh, wanting to, uh, speak with you.”
Fizz pulled up his gym shorts and turned around, “What about?”
“I was wondering if you’d like to go on a date or something.” I knew I was blushing, how could I not be? Fizz was hot, and cute, and I really, really wanted him. Like, now.
“Really? A date, date? Wow. I’d love to, Jay.”
“Awesome. Pick me up around eight, say, on Wednesday?” I knew I should be picking him up, but I didn’t drive. Fizz must have not cared, because he didn’t say anything. Maybe he understood?
“Perfect.” Fizz bent low and kissed me, just kissed me right on the lips. It was so unexpected, but definitely appreciated. I hadn’t been kissed in so long, it was amazing. I grabbed hold of his neck and pulled him closer and kissed him harder. I snaked my tongue into his willing mouth. It wasn’t a long kiss, but it was still hot. He stood after, and winked, “Oh yeah, definitely perfect.”
I licked my lips and smiled. “See you later.”
Getting ready for dates absolutely suck! What the hell was I going to wear? I threw clothes after clothes out of my dresser. “Sara!” I screamed. Nothing. I rolled to the door, and opened it to call for Sara again.
Kyle came running toward me, “Hi Papa.”
“What you doing?”
“Getting ready to go out.”
“Because I have a date.”
“Where’s your Aunt Sara?”
He pointed to Carter and Sara’s bedroom door. “Daddy said not to disturb him or Aunt Sara, and to not go in his room. He then turned some music on. It’s loud.” So that’s where the rock music was coming from. “You want me to get him?”
“No!” I shouted. “No, Kyle. Why don’t you help Papa pick something out to wear tonight?”
By the time Fizz picked me up, Kyle had me looking good. I had a lot of say in my clothes, but it was mostly Kyle handing me what he thought would be nice. Fizz liked it. We went to the movies, dinner after, and as he drove me home I was practically melting in his presence. He wasn’t just hot, but he really was an amazing, fun guy to be around. I never laughed so much until now. He pulled up to the house, and I wasn’t ready to get out, or leave.
“Want to join me,” I asked.
He nodded and his adam’s apple bobbed. “Yeah.”
He helped me out of his car and pushed me to the front door. Inside I whispered where my room was. It was late, and quiet. I put my finger up to my mouth as Fizz and I made our way down the hallway. Fizz helped me into bed, making sure I wasn’t clothed in the process. We spent the rest of the night together…and in that one night I was hooked.
Author’s Note: I was looking forward to filming Rocky Horror. This was actually one of the first songs I picked out in my playlist when I first planned Jamie’s story out.