The line was silent. Jimmy looked around the recording studio at the guys before redialing Margie’s cell only to have it just ring, so he dialed it two more times. He knew it was Crystal that was up to something but had no idea what Addison was talking about… or why she was calling that bitch his girlfriend? He felt sick to his stomach, hearing the hurt in his baby girl’s voice, but he was also beyond pissed. He wasn’t going to have Crystal screw up his relationship with the woman he loved, and that was a fact!
Nickels and Howie were all trying to get ahold of their women, but no one was answering. He finally gave Jones back his cell and ran his hands through his hair. “Do any of you have a fucking clue what's going?” Jones asked.
“I have no clue,” Jimmy answered.
Howie walked back into the room and shook his head. “Tia isn’t answering her cell. You know, I thought she wasn’t calling me back because she was tired.”
Nickels lit a smoke and took a seat at the mixing board. “You know there is one way we can sort this shit out. Get right to the source of the problem.”
“Yeah, what?” Howie asked.
But Jimmy already knew what Nick was hinting at. “It’s ten at night, you think she’d answer the call?” He asked.
“Wouldn’t you?” Nick answered.
“Fuck yeah, I would.” He sighed. “But I don’t have her number.”
“Don’t worry, that is something I can get.” Nickels grinned and walked out of the room.
Jones head was in his hands as he stared at the floor. “I missed my baby’s birth because of that bitch… doesn’t Margie trust me after all of this?”
“We don’t even know what is going on. So let’s get all the information first before you get pissed.” Jimmy told him.
“I say we get our asses on a plane and get home to talk to them. Tell them that whatever Crystal said was bullshit!” Howie said.
“Yeah, and how in the hell are we going to do that? We don’t even know what the hell is going on.” Jones growled.
The door opened, and Nickels walked in with a piece of paper. “Yeah, but we’re going to find out right now.” He assured all of them handing the paper to Jimmy. “I think if we want to get to the truth, you should be the one to call Crystal. She might want to get back at all of us… but I think it’s you that she really wants to destroy.”
“Yeah…” He sighed, taking the paper and dialing the number.
The cell rang a couple times, and he was just about to hang up when he heard the voice that he hated. “Why James Richardson. I somehow knew that you’d be calling me.” Crystal giggled.
He then put the cell on speaker so they all could hear what the hell was going on. “What the fuck did you do?”
“Me, I didn’t do anything?”
“Cut the bull shit, I know you sent Addison something.” He growled.
“Oh, you must mean my gift to all of your girls. Well, yes, I did do that.” She laughed.
There was silence, and the only thing that could be heard was the music and noise from whatever night club she was at before she spoke. “You mean, you don’t know?” She asked, and he could hear the laugh in her voice. “Well, I guess big bad rock stars can't really go anywhere without getting mobbed…”
“Addison accused me of sleeping with you, why?”
“It’s not my place to tell you.”
“But, you know I didn’t fucking sleep with you!” He seethed.
“It doesn’t matter if you didn’t sleep with me, only that Addison thinks you did. That goes for all of the girls. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t cheat on them, only that they think you all did.” She giggled. “You all are such big fucking boars now. I really thought I could get some juicy sex tapes of all of you assholes to screw those girls I hired to go after you. Then I could utterly destroy all of you… but all I got was some photos in some rather suggestive shots. But let me tell you something, my photographer is outstanding guys, outstanding. Not to mention my little note to Lynn telling her how easy it was for me to get you all to cheat on them. So, while I’m out enjoying my victory, have fun figuring all this shit out fellas.” She laughed before she hung up.
“Son of a bitch, we need to figure out where these photos are or how we can get them to see what she sent the girls. Then we know what we’re dealing with.” Jimmy said.
“Yeah, but where do we begin?” Howie asked.
They were all quiet when Jones jumped up. “I know… Addie said something about a box of tabloids that were sent over to them. That means it should be fucking easy to find these photos.”
Nickels nodded and got on the phone. “Mike, I need you to go to the closest convenience store and pick up every tabloid that’s out. Then get your ass back here A.S.A.P to give them to me.” He growled then hung up. “Well, whatever is going on… we’ll find out soon enough.”
Twenty minutes later, Mike came running down the hall with an arm full of magazines, pushing the door to the recording room open. “I only needed to pick up one… the Export. But I picked up every single one they had.” The man told them and then dropped them on the table in the back with a funny look on his face. “It’s pretty bad.” Was all he offered before he left. Jimmy and the guys rushed over, and each one grabbed a paper reading the headlines.
“Holy fucking shit, this isn’t good,” Howie mumbled, dropping into a seat.
“Nope, not good at all,” Jones answered.
But Jimmy couldn’t even talk at what he was seeing. Crystal got him good. If anyone saw those photos and didn’t know the story of what happened… it was pretty hard to argue with. “Holy shit, I’m so fucking screwed.”
“Why didn’t the girl trust us? They should know we wouldn’t do this to them.” Howie asked.
“Yeah, because this photo of me with my hands going up Crystals fucking skirt looks so fucking innocent!” He roared, throwing the paper to the floor. "Tell me, if it was us, and we saw a photo like that in the paper about the girls, would we be so fucking quick to believe them… especially when it looks like they’re in the middle of fucking some guys?”
“Yeah, I guess not.” Howie sighed.
“I can’t have Margie thinking I did this to her… I was damn lucky to get her back all those years ago; this kind of shit could destroy everything for me.” Jones told them.
“You’re not going to have to worry about that, any of you. We’ve got what we need to prove that all the shit Crystal did was a lie. We just need our women to give us a minute to listen to us.” Nickels explained.
“And how the fuck are we going to do that?” Jimmy asked.
“By the conversation I recorded between you and Crystal. She admits that not only did she pay those women to come on to us, but that none of us slept with them.” Nickels grinned, holding up his cell. “So, let’s get our asses home and go tell our girls what happened.”
“You’re a lifesaver, Nickels… my pumpkin will hopefully let me into the hospital room.” Jones sighed.
“Damn, I wish there was a way to get back at Crystal. What she did to us, that was some fucked up shit.” Howie said.
“Don’t worry about that. Crystal will be dethroned as the American sweetheart soon enough; you can count on it. Now, let’s go catch a flight, we have some very unhappy women to deal with.” Nickels smirked, letting them all know that he already had come up with a plan to do just that.
It was early in the morning when they landed in Nashville. Nickels had given them all a copy of the conversation with Crystal. Now they all went their separate ways, except Jimmy drove quietly with Howie to his place where Addison was staying. When they drove up, it was five in the morning, and the house was still dark. “Well, it looks like everyone is still asleep,” Howie said, rubbing his hands over his hair. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, honestly.”
“I don’t think it matters either way. We know they’re going to be upset at first at just seeing out asses. So, let’s just get in there and get this shit done.” Jimmy offered.
With a nod, Howie got out of the car and made sure not to slam the car door shut, and Jimmy followed suit. When they stepped into the large entryway and put down their bags, they heard a door open from upstairs. But as soon as they saw Addison coming down the stairs, Jimmy was at a loss for words, when Howie said something that he was thinking. “Holy shit, Addie’s pregnant?” Howie asked, but Jimmy didn’t answer because he didn’t know it either.
“You two have got some nerve showing up here after everything.” She hissed in hushed tones.
“Addie, it’s not what it looks like. I have to tell Tia what really happened.” Howie answered, starting to walk past her.
“Oh no, you don’t! I just got her and Ester to fall asleep.” She growled.
“I’m sorry, Addie, but I have to talk to her,” Howie said, running up the stairs.
She turned back around, staring at him with a look that was one of only a handful of memories he had of her from when he was drinking. It was a look he never wanted to see on her beautiful face again. So, with a deep breath, he took a step closer to explain what happened. “Addison, look, this is all a big mistake…” He started to say when, from out of nowhere, she punched him dead in the face.
“How would you like having a split lip.” She seethed, but then shook her hand and cradled it to her chest. “Shit!”
He took her by the arm and started to walk her into the kitchen. “Let’s put that under some cold water.”
“Let go of me.” She commanded.
“Not yet, baby girl, it seems you and I have more to talk about then I thought. But first, we have to get that swelling down in your hand… if you have to go into surgery, a swollen knuckle will make your job harder than hell to do.” He explained, walking her into the kitchen.
He turned on the water and put her hand under the faucet wanting to ask her about the baby, but knew she wouldn’t talk to him until she had all the facts straight. “I know that I’ve lied to you before…” He started only to have her roll her eyes at him. “But baby girl, do you really think after everything that we’ve gone through together that I would sleep with Crystal again?” He asked.
Her eyes dropped as she shook her head. “There was a time when I would have never thought you could do anything like that to me. But then I learned the hard way that you could, and not only that, but lie about it to me as well. I wanted to believe everything you said to me, but I also remember what your world is like. So, do I think you could have slept with Crystal, yes I do.”
He nodded at the truth of her answer, turned off the water, and took her to sit at the table and get an ice pack from the freezer. He got a dish towel out and then wrapped it around her hand before pulling out a chair and sitting in front of her. “You’re right, I did do all of those things, but that was before I lost you. Having you back in my life… that’s something I never thought would be possible. So let me say this right here and now so you will never forget, I will never cheat on you again, and especially with Crystal.” He promised.
“I saw you Jimmy. I saw you with your hands up her skirt…” She said, but then stopped taking her free hand and wiping away some tears. “You were kissing her… You can’t explain something like that away.”
“I know it looks bad, but let me explain, please.” He whispered, and when she didn’t say anything, he knew it was the best answer he was going to get. “Those photos were right after the award show. I had just gotten off the phone with you and was so damn tired that I went to find a place to get away from the crowd. Jones sat down next to me, telling me that some woman had been following him around, and he wanted to go, and that sounded good to me. I swear I just shut my eyes for what I thought was only a minute, but must have dozed off. I was dreaming about you, and the next thing I knew, I woke up when someone was kissing me. I pushed Crystal to the floor and left. She shouted at me that she was going to get even… but I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. I swear it, baby girl.”
“I want to believe you, I really do.” She mumbled, and he knew she needed to hear the truth from the conniving bitch who wanted to destroy him.
“Okay, listen. After you hung up on me, I had no idea what you were talking about, only that you accused me of sleeping with Crystal. With that, Nickels got her number, and I called her to see what the hell she had done.”
“You called Crystal?”
“Hell, yes, I did. I had no idea why you were so mad at me, so I had to see what the hell was going on. When I called her, she then started to brag about what she did to not only me but to all of us. What she didn’t know was, Nickels recorded the whole damn thing.” He answered, setting his cell on the table and turned it on. She sat there listening when her hand went over her mouth when Crystal said that it didn’t matter if he slept with her… only that Addison had thought he had. “There’s the whole truth, baby girl.”
She didn’t look at him as he held on to her hand. “I hit you.” She whispered.
“Yeah, but I deserve a lot worse.”
“You don’t have to be sorry, just say that I’ve started to earn your trust again.”
“Yes, you have.”
“Addison… the baby. Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked.
She bit her lip before answering. “I was scared to.”
“I didn’t find out until after you left. You were so mad about Dax, and I didn’t want you to feel pressured by the news.” She murmured.
“Did you think I wouldn’t be happy about it?”
“Well, Lynn said you would be happy, but I wasn’t sure. That’s why I wanted to come home so I could tell you face to face that you’re going to be a father.”
He reached over taking her face in his hands and kissed her. When he was done, he got out of the chair and knelt down on his knees lifting up the t-shirt and caressing her round belly, and then kissed it. “My baby girl is having my baby.” He chuckled.
“Then you’re happy about this?”
“I’m so fucking happy, I can’t quit smiling.” He confessed and then took one of her hands and kissed it, looking up at her. “You know, I think maybe we should get married.”
“What about the boys?” She asked.
“I’m going to adopt them.”
“But Win’s last name…”
“Listen to me, they will have my last name while they’re little. It will be less confusing for them growing up. When they get older, if they wan't their father’s last name, I’m all for it, Addie. They’re going to have two fathers, Win, and me. I love you, and I love those boys, and I want all of us to be a family, a real family. Addison Mallory, will you marry me again?”
“Isn’t this kind of fast?” She smiled.
“Baby girl, if I could marry you today, it isn’t fast enough for me.” He confessed.
“Yes, baby, I’ll marry. I love you too.” She smiled.
He reached up and kissed her again. “Today, we’ll go out and find ourselves a place to live.”
“I like the sound of that.”
“Do you want a big wedding this time around?” He asked, getting up and taking her from her seat and walking her to the stairs.
“No, let’s just go to the courthouse. You, me, the boys and our family.” She answered.
“How long do we have until the boys are up?” He asked.
“About twenty minutes, why?”
“Well, it’s not enough time to get my fill of you… but then I have the rest of my life for that, don’t I?” He growled.
“Yes, yes, you do... Forever.”