Summary: A long kept memory pushed under the rug is now back to haunt him. Will it save or kill him now?
Categories: Fanfiction > Backstreet Boys Characters: Nick, Group
Genres: Action, Suspense
Chapters: 4 Completed: No
Word count: 7626 Read: 2033
Published: 11/29/04 Updated: 04/07/05
1. Leaving by mersey
2. Redeem by mersey
3. Lets say by mersey
4. An Old Friend by mersey
Sequel to Saving Saint Nickolas. You might want to read that first before reading this one. http://www.angelfire.com/weird2/mersey/ssn.html
The house was dark and cold. The pelts of rain hitting the windows started off soft and unthreatening before it began to pour heavily and hit like bullets. Thunders and lightning were beginning to make their presence, breaking the dark clouds apart from time to time. He sat there on the couch, biting his nails and fixing his gaze forward, where the black screen of the television stared back at him.
It remained that way ever since he received the last phone call. The one that had managed to frighten him into silence. The one that would be responsible for his next course of actions.
He stood up abruptly, as if his mind was already made up. He felt the blood pumping in his heart, the beat like a continuous drum on some Red Indian rituals; it got to a point where it hurt his ears and resulted in the soft dull throbbing of his head. He swallowed hard, hoping to clear the nausea that had appeared out of nowhere. Grabbing the bunch of keys and his wallet on the table, he made his way to the door in big strides, as if running from some unforeseen danger that was chasing him. It was getting closer.
The door swung open and he paused, shocked by the cold that hit his face like thousands of knives. Outside, the heavy clouds, the dark gloomy shadows and the heavy rain awaited him. Lightning tore the sky from afar, breaking the horizon and lighting up the surrounding for a mere second before a clap of thunder rolled, booming the very ground he was standing on. He looked back, into the dark house and studied the place one last time, stilling the picture before locking the door and making a run for his Escalade waiting at the front porch.
He jammed his key into the slot and twisted it. Pushing the silver button, he clutched the icy handle and yanked the door open as fast as he could. By the time he was safely inside the car, his white shirt was completely drenched and his fingers were trembling. He didn’t wait long, knew he didn’t have much time left, and turned the engine on. He jumped when music started blaring from the stereo, managed a small smile when he realised it was Puddle of Mudd, but quickly switched it off. Silence fell around him once more, unsettling. Can you take it all away…
He gripped the wheels tightly, wanting for the numbness to go away. He switched the wipers [not sure what they’re called, lol] on, watched it swished back and forth, clearing his view. He noticed the light in his room was still on and decided it would be too late to go back inside. And he definitely wasn’t looking forward to getting drenched a second time around.
“Steady now Nick.” He whispered under his breath. It sounded shaky, he was loosing his battle with the cold and that small part of him, the one who refused to sit around and be patient, was getting agitated. He needed to get away now.
The tires squealed as he floored the gas pedal, and the car began to race over the gravel ground, slipping from side to side, noisily spitting a tidal wave of gravel behind it. He manoeuvred out of his porch and sped his way out of the compound of his house and into the dark, wet road, never once looking back to the life he was leaving behind.
A broken crayon was begging him to put him back together with the help of some masking tape. It was yellow and had the irritating voice of one Howie D.
Please Brian, don’t throw me away, you can put me back together again. It’s not my fault that I’m broken! If only kids would appreciate things such as myself, we wouldn’t be so easily forsaken. Besides, I’m Yellow, everybody needs some yellow to colour anyway. I’m the bright light that shines every picture pasted on the fridge! Come on, help me put myself back together, just like you help to fix hearts.
It was between the begging and the constant pulling of his arm that he heard the soft ringing of his cell phone from a distant. It lingered for a while before it hit him that he should probably answer it.
He awoke to a dark, unfamiliar room. That alone clued him in the fact that he wasn’t at home. After feeling a bit dampened by that, he acknowledged the reason why he was there in the first place. The Backstreet Boys were back in the studio again, just like the old times, only better. He smiled.
A clap of thunder woke him from the remaining of his sleep and immediately reminded him of the very reason why he was up in the first place. His cell phone was ringing. He groped in the dark, searching for it and grunted softly when he couldn’t find it.
“Damn it, where is that damn thing?” Frustrated, he tried switching the table lamp, it worked on the first try. Proud of the little feat, he smiled when he saw the cell phone lying on the side table. “I swear I searched that spot.” Shaking his head, he yawned and answered the phone.
“Let me guess, you’re freaked out by the thunder?” He stifled the laughter, the image of a very pissed off Nick Carter, hidden under folds of comforter and blankets, invaded him. “You’re not exactly fourteen anymore bro.”
Nick didn’t say a word but Brian knew he was there, he could hear the heavy breathing loud and clear. “Nick?”
The line was cut off shortly after and Brian snickered, tickled by how easy it was to ruffle Nick’s feathers. He yawned loudly and stretched his limbs before he hit the speed dial.
“AJ, are you in the middle of…something?”
“Yes Rok, it’s called sleeping! You know, normal people sleep during this time of the night.”
“But you don’t like being normal. Your choice of hairstyle speaks the truth.”
“Is there a reason why you called this early?”
“Um yeah…I need your help.”
“Whatever it is, I’ll help you with it tomorrow morning, when there’s actually natural light and I’m awake.”
“Nick called me and I kinda pissed him off.”
“So I think he’s actually afraid and lonely and needs to talk to someone. I figured you could call and check if he’s okay.”
“He’s fucking 24 Brian.”
“He’s not fucking 24 Brian.”
“You’re not funny, at all.”
“Come on J, just call him, please? I’ll owe you one.”
“Don’t you think he can take care of himself by now? We can’t keep smothering him all the time.”
“Right now is an exception. You know he’s having problems lately, just call him, please?”
“This is a huge one dude.”
“I know. Thanks.”
Brian sighed, sitting in the dark and trying to recall what just happened. Memories of what they had done the day before came rushing. So they were in LA, with the rest of the guys back at their own houses while he stayed in the hotel. Howie had offered to have him stay over at his house but he had declined it for that night. He had been staying over at Nick’s and AJ’s place from time to time but that night, he wanted his alone time, where he could spent hours just lying in bed and talk to his wife.
He laughed, remembering what he had dreamt earlier. “Yellow crayon Brian? Man, you’re off the loop.” Not too long ago, before he left for LA, he decided to introduce Baylee to crayons. Within minutes, he had managed to break a yellow crayon and handed him a masking tape for daddy to fix it. He sighed; he must have missed home more than he would admit.
Another clap of thunder roared and he shivered involuntarily. His mind was brought back to Nick. The man got easily offended by little things they said recently that it was difficult to just hang around him in the beginning. It became better though, when they decided to sit down and talk about it. Things were going well, Brian especially made sure that Nick was never left alone for too long and always made sure his mind doesn’t wander around to the troubled waters that was bugging him. This time around, they had decided to help him out, rather than dump him in a room with a total stranger. Brian doubt he could face another psychiatrist again, not after what happened to Johnathan Reitt.
Something must have triggered the bad memories that night, and he couldn’t help feeling guilty for mocking him the way he did. As he lay back to sleep, that familiar groggy feeling starting to take over, he could only hoped Nick wouldn’t shut AJ out too.
Brian felt dead to the world; so dead that it took Howie a second key card to get into his hotel room and wake him up. It was almost noon then. Hours had passed since he had called AJ to check up on Nick. When it dawned upon him that Howie’s visit wasn’t social, all signs of sleep dissipated.
“You gave us quite a scare there Brian.” Howie said; sounding irritated. “You didn’t answer our calls, you didn’t open the door when the cleaning lady was here earlier and you didn’t bother to call us back. I thought you’ve gone missing too.”
Brian almost had his butt back on the bed when what Howie said made him paused and got himself up again. “Too?”
The irritant look turned into that of worry. For a second there, Brian could see the glimpse of age catching up on Howie. Those thin crows whenever he smiles or frowns weren’t there before. Those brown eyes used to always emit the fun loving guy that Brian got to know from years ago. These days, it showed a mixture of maturity, knowledge and loads of experience. And then something slaps him on the face – he had those signs in him too.
“Nick’s missing. AJ couldn’t get hold of him last night and he’s not home since.”
Brian yawned, hiding his grin well. He’s fucking 24 Brian.
“He’s fu…he’s 24 D, AJ’s right, we’re still treating him like he’s 14.”
“Kevin went over to his house this morning.” Howie paused; sighing a little before continuing. “Someone broke into his house, started smashing everything in sight.”
“D, he was very upset last night, and you know Nick, when he’s mad…he’s mad.”
“They found his cellphone by the driveway, smashed.”
“Let me guess, his car’s missing too? The Expedition to be exact?”
Howie frowned. “Did he call you?”
Brian smirked. “Lucky guess…you know D, I was worried too last night, but I think he just wants some time to himself. You know how he’s been lately.”
“Kevin broke into his house.” Howie said, brushing Brian off.
“Wow, first AJ, now Nick.” Brian joked.
“Steven Carvel left a note.”
Everything fell into place then. Brian knew what had been troubling their youngest brother now.
Nick was 23 when he finally told Brian about Uncle Steven. The death of Johnathan Reitt came during times where Backstreet Boys were back in the studio, followed by a World Tour, mourning for his lost was pushed under the rug. It was like a taboo topic, never to be spoken about amongst them. But when they reunited again after the hiatus for the Billboard Music Awards, Brian had spent some quality time with Nick and after a few rounds of alcohol in his system; he spoke up.
“Where was I when all these were going on?”
“You were there, we were on tour remember?”
“How come I know nothing about it? God Nick, I should’ve known, I’m your bestfriend!”
His glazed eyes widen for the first time that night and then a small smile played around his lips, almost as if he was blushing.
“Did I say something wrong?” Brian puzzled.
Nick shook his head. “Nope. Just surprised to hear you said it.”
“That you’re my bestfriend?”
“Sorry, you do know I regard you as more than just that right? You’re my brother, that little kid I used to dunk his head under my armpit. Can’t do that anymore now, but it take more than not smelling my armpit to severe that tie.”
Nick laughed and then took another sip of his beer. “I was surprised you even think of me as your bestfriend, not cause you didn’t call me your brother.”
“Look, I know we hit some rough patch for awhile there, but it’s gonna take more than that for me to hate you. I’m sorry it happened but I don’t want you to think you’re not important to me anymore.”
“I’m sorry too, for everything. You’re important to me too. You all are.”
“So how come I didn’t know about this uncle when we were supposed to be tight back then? I’m feeling guilty now.”
“You didn’t know cause I said nothing.” Nick had smiled. “Besides, you knew something was up, it’s not like you didn’t care.”
“You suspected something. You asked about it, remember?”
Brian frowned. He did?
Nick waved it off. “Don’t sweat about it Brian, it’s in the past.”
Funny how the past always catch up with you and suck you back in.
Steven Carvel started an investment with a group of his friends a few years ago. Half a million dollars given by Nick in exchange to a promise that he’ll never lay his fingers on her sisters- something that Jane Carter knew about but made his son promised not to tell his father. Jane told Nick that it was a good thing he had done. That he was being the best brother the girls could ever have. The son a mother could ever ask for. It had made Nick’s entire life when Jane said that. To know that he had gained his mother’s love.
Things started to ease up a bit, with Steven Carvel almost out of his life. The last time they met, Steven was a very successful businessman.
That lasted for almost two years before he was charged for stealing the investment money and their clients’.
Kevin was standing on the porch looking up at the house when Brian and Howie arrived. Not knowing what to do next, he decided to stand next to Kevin and tried to find what it was that had his cousin’s interest.
The window to his room on the second floor was opened. “He broke in from the window?”
“Looks like it, doesn’t it?” Kevin said.
“You have other theories, haven’t you?” Brian said. “You’re always one who plays detective Kev.”
“The window’s not broken.” Kevin said.
“Maybe it wasn’t locked in the first place.” Brian offered.
“Kevin, I’m worried about him. What if that uncle of his is hurting him right now?” He lowered his gaze, massaging his neck a little. He studied the place around him and recalled the broken cell phone. “You found his cell phone?”
“Yeah, it’s with AJ.”
“So Nick was still here when he called me last night.”
“Yeah.” Kevin said.
“Wait, you know Kev, detective work should tell you that you can’t disrupt evidence. Have we even called the police yet?”
“No. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, maybe calling the police isn’t the best option right now.”
Brian couldn’t believe what he had just heard. “Howie did you-” Brian frowned. “Where did D go?”
“Backyard, AJ’s there taking pictures.” Kevin replied.
“Taking what?” Brian exclaimed. “Kev, Nick’s MISSING, this is serious, we need to call the police; this isn’t the time to play detective Kevin.”
“When we find Steven, we will find Nick.” Kevin replied calmly. “He’s not going to hurt him, he needs him for the money.”
“It’ll be easier and a hell lot faster if we let the police help us. What did AJ and Howie think about this?”
“Do you remember what happened when Steven was charged?”
Of course he did. It wasn’t that huge a deal until Jane started opening her big mouth and sold the story out to ET. Tabloids printed pictures of under age Aaron on the beach drinking and smoking. There weren’t a lack of girls in bikinis and teenage boys walking around topless near the campfire they made. Jane was quick to be on TV to clear her son’s name, only to destroy the other.
Brian wasn’t exactly sure how one linked up to the other, but she managed to talk about her stress after learning that her brother had ended up in jail from an investment gone bad. She said it wouldn’t have happen if Nick had borrowed him the money he needed to pay his debts. Brian was certain the exact words Jane used were ‘He turned his back on his family when they needed him the most’. It took months of endless tabloid speculations before something else came up in the tabloid to drown the whole episode. Those were hard times; sometimes Brian would sit back and wondered why Nick wasn’t already admitted into rehab for depression.
“Don’t think I can ever forget it.”
“Yeah well, Aaron is finally out of her clutch and we all know she’s not happy about that. Reporting this to the police is like handing her an opportunity for a comeback on a silver platter.”
Brian thought about it. He had to admit that Kevin was making sense there. “But Kevin, Nick’s much more important than that. What if keeping quiet cost us his life? Sure he needs him alive for the money but we can never be too sure about that.”
“I don’t think so Bri; you might want to read the note that he left.”
Brian stood right at the corner of the living room, afraid that he might disrupt some unseen evidence in the house. It was hard to stand still when pieces of glass were lying everywhere. Broken frames and upturned furniture only added fuel to his imagination.
AJ and Howie appeared from the back door, with a camera in his hands. He couldn’t tell if it had sunk in yet to them that Nick was missing and probably in danger. AJ would probably just tell himself that Nick was late for one of his meetings again instead. It helped to keep him calm.
“What you got there detective?”
AJ smiled and handed the camera to him. “Check it out.”
There were pictures of his room, the opened window and the state his room was. The floor was wet, most probably from the storm. The room seemed untouched though. The kitchen and the backyard looked normal, there were no signs of forced entry. It was the living room that had been turned into mayhem. And then there were pictures of the crushed cell phone, found near the gates at the entrance of his house.
“You got a picture of the note?”
AJ shook his head. “Nope. Kev got that sealed in a clear bag.”
As if on cue, Kevin came climbing down from the second floor with a clear bag on his hand. Brian could see the piece of crushed white paper in there.
“That’s all we’ve got.” Kevin said as he passed him the note.
I’ll let you redeem yourself dear Nephew.
Brian frowned. “That sounds disturbing guys, we have to find Nick NOW.”
“Calm down Brian. Look, he’s letting Nick redeem himself, that means he’s not going to kill him.” Howie said.
“Well, we have to find out where he’s living right now or find his daughter. And not to sound amazing race ish, but we have a road block right now. Go straight to Jane and save ourselves some precious time or go to Aaron and see if he knows anything.” Howie said.
“I think it’s wise if we ask Aaron.” AJ said.
Kevin didn’t seem to agree. “Look I know we don’t wish to talk to Jane, but it’s faster if we ask her, besides, Aaron might get suspicious if we call him up and ask about his uncle out of the blue.”
“Sure Kev, after she’s done drilling you and find enough substance in there to make up some hot ass rumor for her next ET spot. But hey, if you’re calling, I have NO problems whatsoever.”
Kevin winced. “Nah, let’s go call Aaron.”
AJ smirked. “I thought so too.”
It was one of those boring nights where tied down by security and agreements and the lack of anything better to do, they had found themselves roomed together wishing that they could escape it instead.
“Lets say,” Howie started as he brought the novel he was reading face down on the bed. “you were driving alone, it was in the middle of the night-”
“Which technically means midnight,” AJ interrupted.
“Yes, thanks AJ, I’m very sure Nick appreciates you clearing that up for him,” Howie replied sarcastically. Nick’s only reply was aiming a pillow towards Howie, which missed him by inches.
“Go on D.” Kevin said while reading yet another draft Nick had drawn for the next volume of Backstreet Project.
“So, you were driving alone in the middle of the night on a long, deserted road and you found an unconscious man lying in the middle of the road not far from you.”
“What kind of stories have you been reading?” Brian teased.
“Nothing that would hold AJ’s attention,” Howie joked. “so anyway, my question is, will you get out and check on him?”
“I would.” Nick said almost immediately.
“Wow that’s a fast one Nick.” Brian smiled.
“What’s to think about? He obviously needs some kind of help, unless of course he does that for fun, although I can’t seem to find anything fun in doing that.”
“What if he’s a robber just waiting for some stupid moron like yourself to take the bait?” AJ asked.
“Or what if he’s already dead for quite awhile? That would be scary.” Brian shuddered.
“Or maybe, he was dropped there by the aliens after they had kidnapped him earlier and studied more about the human race.” Nick said. “Come on guys, I know you would get out and at least see if you can help him out.”
“I would call someone up, probably one who lives nearby and get out to check on this guy along with my cell phone. If he tries to do anything funny, at least someone knows about it.” Kevin said.
“That’s the smartest thing anyone had said so far.” Howie beamed.
Kevin smirked. “Naturally.”
Nick remembered that conversation well, in fact, it was the fact that now he found himself in the exact same situation, he wished he didn’t have slam his cell phone somewhere along the driveway of his house. Now no one will know if he was going to be in trouble for helping some unconscious stranger in the middle of the damn road.
Kevin counted until three under his breath. He was right after all, AJ should have made the call instead.
“Kevin, are you there? Hello?”
“Yes I’m still here.”
“Okay well, I asked you, is Nick in trouble?”
“No he’s not.”
“But you called me out of the blue and asked about my uncle when you could have asked Nick.”
“Then you must either not talking to my brother or he’s got his ass stuck in a huge mess again.”
“Kevin, we’re talking about my brother here, ‘again’ shouldn’t have surprised you.”
“I know…so what’s it gonna be? Do you have your uncle’s address or not?”
“I’m not even sure if he’s home…you know, he’s in jail for a long time now, I’m not even sure if-”
“He’s out, that’s why I need his address.”
“How did you know he’s out? And why do you need his address in the first place anyway?”
“Aaron kid, listen, I promise you I’ll tell you everything soon okay? I’m in a hurry right now and I need his address and Nick lost his phone, again, and I can’t get him on any numbers now. Can you help me? Please?”
“Is this about a business venture?”
Why didn’t I think of that before, Kevin thought.
“Yeah, that’s it, I wanna talk business with him.”
“He’s a crook Kev.”
“Lou is too, but that didn’t stop you either.” Nice Kevin, what’s next? Bully a six year old?
“It didn’t stop Jane, you mean? Anyways, I have to look for his address, I’ll send it to you via text message once I got it.” Wow, so it’s Jane now, no more mom.
“Thanks kid,” Kevin sighed in relief. “and Aaron, I’m sorry about that, I didn’t mean it that way.”
“I know what you mean, it’s okay. Bye.”
Howie was smirking, not envying what Kevin just did. “How did that go?”
“Just like talking to Nick.”
“There’s a lot of ‘whys’ I bet.” AJ added.
“Yes, it did.”
“Did he get suspicious?” Howie asked.
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, did you get the address?” Brian asked, looking hopeful.
“He’s looking for it now,” Kevin explained. “till then, we’ll just have to wait.”
Brian frowned, “I hope we’re not too late.”
There was a period of silence in the car. AJ had rolled the window down so he could take a smoke without having to get out of the car. Time was running out for them, the last thing he needed was to have a car filled with three fifth of the Backstreet Boys screaming for his butt to get in because they finally got the address and needed to get moving immediately.
“I wonder where he took him.” Howie said, breaking the silence. “Redeem himself? It just doesn’t make any sense at all.”
“Is it just me or is leaving that note behind a stupid thing to do if you don’t want to get caught?” AJ asked. “I mean, he wrote ‘nephew’ didn’t he? He pretty much gave it away.”
“I just hope he's safe...I will never forgive myself if something happened to him. I could have saved him or do something to help when he called me last night but what did I do? made fun of him until that son of a bitch found out he was making a call and threw that phone out the window!” Brian seethed. Nobody even took the opportunity to point out to him that he had freely cursed someone.
"You couldn't have known what was going there Bri, don't go having any guilt trip now." Kevin said.
AJ sighed. “Well, at least we know where they got the messed up genes from.”
Howie smirked. “Jane is something else, isn’t she?”
Kevin’s cell phone beeped; never in his life had he been so grateful to hear that annoying sound. It was from Aaron.
“Buckle up boys, we’re going for a very long ride.”
The old man that Nick had picked up was now sleeping soundly in the car, next to him. He wasn’t that old, now that Nick had the time to think about it; he assumed that he was about his father’s age. The man introduced himself as Will and had thanked Nick profusely for helping him. Seeing that he was still too weak to hold a proper conversation, Nick figured it wasn’t the best of times to ask him too many questions.
Drive straight for about half a mile, the first house you see is where I live
, Will had said before falling asleep.
It was like one of those farm houses you see in picture books and movies. The house was made entirely by wood, painted the color of rosewood with white support beams. To the left stood a rather large barn house; Nick imagined there would be horses in there. There were even picket fences painted in white surrounding the land area that was his property. The mailbox was painted in white and black patches, like a cow. ‘Will Donald’ was painted on one side of the box.
What do ya know, it is Old McDonald himself!
The man was still sleeping when they reached the porch of the house. Nick sat him on a rocking chair that was placed on the porch and looked under the green mat that said ‘Welcome’ on it. Like a true blue scene out of a movie, there laid a silver key. Sometimes, Nick loves the way his simple mind thinks.
The house was well furnished, everything had a touch of that country feeling. It was the sweet aroma of home cook meal coming from the kitchen that had Nick realized, that maybe there was someone else in the house. Mrs. McDonald?
“Hello? Anybody home?” Nick cried as he placed the still sleeping Mr. Will on the sofa. “Excuse me?”
To his surprise, a young man at about his age, appeared from the kitchen, visibly alarmed.
“Who are you? How did you get in here?”
The old man stirred in his sleep and for a second, Nick thought that maybe, he might had the wrong house afterall. Great, ran away from home, pick a stranger in the middle of the road and then break in to a house. What next Carter?
"This is Mr. Will's house, isn't it?"
"What business is it for you?" The young man spat.
Mr. Will groaned, from where Nick was standing, he could see that the old man was about to wake up.
"Look i meant no harm, Mr. Will can explain everything when he wakes up...I'm just trying to-"
Nick couldn't finish his sentence, there was something about the look on the young man's face that caught him. He was no longer mad at him, just...afraid?
"Leave this house, NOW!"
An Old Friend
“STOP THE CAR! NOW!” Oh God, why are we so blind?
“Damn D, what’s that for?” AJ groaned as he forced himself out of his restless sleep.
Kevin screeched the car to a halt, sensing the urgency immediately. “What is it? You need to throw up?”
Howie shook his head. “No! We’re doing it all wrong guys, we won’t find Nick at his Uncle’s.”
Brian yawned. “I don’t get it.”
“Where’s the note, give it to me.” Howie said eagerly. Kevin fished it out of his pocket and after switching on the light, passed it to Howie. “Ok, listen, it said ‘I’ll let you redeem yourself, dear Nephew’ now THINK, if he has Nick WITH him, why leave a message behind in the first place? It doesn’t make sense!”
“Maybe he left that note so people won’t be suspicious of him.” AJ suggested.
“Then he wouldn’t say ‘nephew’ now would he? That would ultimately direct people to him. The whole world knows what happened between those two, thanks to Jane.” Howie reasoned.
The silence in the car was deafening. Even Kevin was taking his time to register everything he had said.
“I can’t believe we’re so stupid.” AJ whispered. “He might be too far gone and we’ll never catch up cause we’re so dead set on Steven Carvel.”
“So Steven broke into the house from the window, which by luck, was unlocked. Turn the whole place up side down and left that note as a threat for Nick to find.” Kevin said.
“Maybe that’s why Nick got upset last night and called me. He might have seen that letter and panicked.” Brian said.
“So he left.”
“That still doesn’t make me feel any better.” Brian frowned. “We have no leads now.”
The silence returned. Everyone was contemplating which way to go. Do they turn around or drive ahead. What would they do? And most importantly, where was Nick?
Kevin started the car again. “We may have no leads, but I’m not about to let this asshole go just like that, not after what he’d done. I’m going and I’m giving him a piece of my mind, you guys can stay in the car if you want to, but I’m not turning back.”
“And let you have all the fun? Hell no.” AJ scoffed.
Brian slumped back in the seat of the car, speechless. The doors slammed, he heard Kevin turning the ignition on and the monotonous drone of the engine drowned the argument a little. Not much for him to not hear it at all. He felt AJ sitting next to him, in silence himself, the tension in his body didn’t go unnoticed. Kevin drove out of Steven Carvel’s compound as Howie, uncharacteristically of him, yelled ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!’ to Kevin.
Don’t tempt a desperate man! Where had he heard that before?
He wondered if Nick had not hung up on him the night before, this could all be prevented. If he had not made fun of his friend and paid attention to the tell tale signs, Nick would be with them right now and Kevin wouldn’t have to permanently disfigure Steven Carvel’s face.
God, what have I done?
When Kevin said he was giving Steven Carvel a piece of his mind, Howie thought he was going to give him one of his famous Kevin speeches, the one that the rest of the Backstreet Boys are so used to hearing. Nick and AJ even had a name for it, ‘Kevin Intervention’. Once upon a time, it was the most feared thing to have around tours.
But going straight at the man and grabbing him by the collar and demanding what he had done to Nick was something else.
“Go to the police, see if they care about me when I show them what you’ve been doing to the boy all these years!” Kevin had yelled at Steven.
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“Don’t tempt a desperate man!”
“Are you threatening me?”
“Yes, make no mistake about that.”
Part of him wanted to break down. Not because he was afraid of what it was doing to Kevin, but because of the realization of how serious the whole thing was. You only need to look at Kevin and his reactions to grasp just how desperate the situation was. Nick is missing, and the man whom they thought had the answers was nothing more but another excess baggage of Nick’s long list of whacked family ties.
Nicky, please come back!
AJ kept seeing Kevin shaking the life out of the man in his head. It doesn’t matter if Steven Carvel is twice his size, when Kevin sets his mind on something, he very damn well will deliver it. Kevin didn’t care when he pushed the man back, causing him to slam on his glass coffee table and breaking it into pieces. It didn’t snap Kevin back to reality when he saw the blood and gashes on the man’s body and face. But AJ saw all that, and it frightened him.
“AJ, you know I’m not good at this right?”
“Asshole…look, I’m not very good with words,”
“Yes, your ‘you know’ says a lot.”
“Will you please let me just get this over and done with?”
“I don’t want you to think that you can’t come to me if you need to talk something out…I know I’m no better off than you, heck, I think I’m more messed up than you sometimes and I may not give you the best of advise…but I don’t want you to go thinking that you have absolutely no one to talk to, I don’t-”
“Nick, I get it. I won’t shut you guys out ever.”
“Promise me that Bone. Promise me that you’ll come to us for anything. Promise me that I will never have to see you that way again.”
“Promise me you’ll do the same?”
“Well then, it’s a promise.”
AJ gritted his teeth, wanting to stop the memory from taking over. Who was it that said promises are meant to be broken? That person is a genius.
“I’m sorry.” Kevin said, breaking the silent tension that was mounting in the car. “I didn’t mean to get out of control like that.”
No one said a word although it did pull them out of their hazy thoughts. Kevin didn’t dare to look at Howie so he turned back and looked at AJ and Brian. “Well? Nothing at all?”
“There will be nothing at all if you don’t turn your head back and pay attention to the road.” Howie exclaimed. Kevin wanted to tell Howie that he had had enough of his lecture when he saw the _expression on Howie’s face. Utter panic. “You planning on killing us?”
“Nice Kevin, just nice.”
“Actually Kev, that was a good one what you did to that asshole.”
Kevin turned again. “Excuse me?”
“I said it’s a GOOD one!” AJ cried.
“Can you please keep your eyes on the road? God!” Howie exclaimed.
“I’m not saying what you did is right Kev, but, he deserves it.” Brian said.
Kevin stopped for the red light and leaned back on his seat. His thoughts on Nick and wondering where he could be by then. “Yeah well, that felt good, but it bring us no where closer to Nick.”
Someone’s cell phone was ringing but Kevin gave it no thought. He was already drifting miles away to care.
“What do you mean you don’t have my reservation? I made it like, 2 weeks ago!” Marianne said, almost losing her patient with the receptionist at the front desk of the hotel. “Could you please check again? It’s Marianne McCloud, should I spell it for you?”
“Was the reservation made under your personal account Miss McCloud?” The young woman asked. Her nametag spelt ‘Julie’.
“Actually a colleague of mine did the reservation, so it should be under the company’s account. Try Charles & Malcolm, thanks.”
Marianne looked around the lobby as Julie typed away the information. The last time she was here, they had spent the night talking about the past.
Now he belonged to the past.
“Miss, do you also go by the name Marianne Schmedley?” Julie asked.
“There’s a reservation made from Charles & Malcolm for Marianne Schmedley, I’m assuming that’s your husband’s last name?”
It dawned upon her now. The prick.
“Thanks, that’s the one. I didn’t know they used my other name. Sorry about that.”
“That’s quite all right Ms. Schmedley. Here’s your key card, 7th floor, the 4th door to your left.”
“Thanks…Julie…you have a great day.”
“You too Ms. Schmedley, enjoy your stay.”
“Oh I’m sure I will.” Marianne smiled before making a beeline to the elevator. Fortunately for her, she had the elevator all to herself.
“Ms. Schmedley my ass!” Marianne grunted. She tried dialing his number back in Florida but couldn’t get any reception in the elevator. Once out of there, she made a sharp left and counted the 4th room. Slotting the key card in, she finally got in the room and quickly headed for the bed.
“Ah this is sweet.” She tried calling Daniel again but to no avail. “I should try tomorrow I guess.”
Making her way to the washroom, she had a quick face wash, not wanting to be too awake when it was almost midnight in LA. Creeping back to her bed, she switched off the lights, leaving only the reading light on and got herself under the huge comforter. It was a cold night in LA; she could stay that way forever and forget everything else.
That didn’t happen though. It never did. She couldn’t remember the last time she actually had a peaceful night sleep. At least not after she lost her two best friends.
And then her thoughts went to Maria, the purpose of her visit to LA in the first place. It made her feel better, knowing that as least of her, she had a closure, for her new client Maria, it was still endless sleepless nights worrying of the what Ifs.
“Okay, happy thoughts, happy thoughts.” She murmured to herself. Perhaps she could find out where the Backstreet Boys are. She knew they were in LA, Nick often tried to keep in contact with her, always so nice to ask how she was holding up. It often ended with her listening to him talk about some issues he was faced with.
Her cell phone rang, pulling her away from her almost sleepy thoughts. It was Daniel.
“Hey wifey, how’s the hotel room, good enough for you?”
“Oh shut up! Not in a million years Daniel. And YOU almost got me in trouble checking in!”
His ever annoying laughter invaded her ear. “Oh come on Marianne, I can feel your sexual tension even from here. You know you want me.”
“There’s a lot of tension here Daniel, and none of it is sexual. And yes, there is one thing I want from you.”
“And what is that my dear?”
“Don’t call me or bother me while I’m still in LA. I need my Daniel free time.”
“No problem. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder.”
“It also makes me wanna puke.” Marianne sighed. “Goodnight Daniel.”
“Goodnight Marianne. Don’t let the monsters bite.”
She hung up and found that she had several missed calls from Nick. “How come I never see that before?”
She tried calling but no one answered. She felt horrible all of a sudden. She always feel like throwing up when she felt something bad had happened. So maybe it’s not Daniel who was making her sick after all.
She looked through her phonebook, wondering if she still keeps Howie’s number.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.