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Kevin was restless. He had been trying to call both Nick and Brian but none of his calls were answered. And he was wondering if it was just him or if traffic lights went red at every single stop when time mattered the most to him. Yet at another red stop, Kevin tried calling Nick again. Again, it ended up with his called being transferred to his voicemail. “Shit!”Kevin yelled in frustration. What if something happened? What if the bad guys knew about the memory stick? What if they had a detecting device on it and knew where it was kept? He decided to call Howie. The traffic turned green and Kevin stepped on the gas pedal and sped his way. “Yes Kevin.” “D, are you at Jive now?” “Yup. What’s wrong?” “Good. Are Brian and Nick there yet?” “Yeah. But Nick’s taking his nap after saying something about you going to kill him. Brian’s on the phone with Leigh since forever now.” “Okay good...good...I’ll be there in a few, I stopped to buy breakfast for you guys.” “That’s great, we’re starving.” “Oh, AJ’s there?” “Yup, we’re all accounted for, except for you.” “Okay sorry, see you guys later.” “Later!” - When Kevin entered the meeting room, it felt weird to see the guys going about doing their own thing while there he was, his life turned around and inside out. It also made him calm, to see the guys blissfully unaware of the possible danger Kevin had managed to get himself into. He sighed. Knowing a promise is a promise no matter what. He knew at the end of that meeting, he had to tell them what happened. Nick strutted into the room with a mug of tea in his hands. He was softly blowing at the hot steam when the sight of Kevin startled him. The mug almost falling from his grasp. It spilled a little on his arms, which resulted in a slew of vulgarities from him. “Shit! Fuck! Damn it!” “That’s it baby, let it roll!”AJ laughed as he passed by. Kevin walked up to him and carefully grabbed the mug from his hands. “Am I that scary this morning?” “Thanks.”Nick said quickly, now waving his burnt right hand as if the action had some kind of healing effect. Howie, who had just gotten off his phone, came up to them. “What happened?” “Spilled my tea.”Nick groaned. “Fuck that’s hot.” “You know Nick, the way you said it, people would think there’s a hot blonde, blue eyed girl in this room with really long legs who just passed you by.”AJ said as he sat comfortably by the conference table. “Glad I’m amusing you AJ.”Nick groaned. Brian who had just came from the pantry room with a mug of tea himself, shook his head as he pat Nick on the shoulder. “What did I say back there?” “I’m going to spill my tea.”Nick grumbled. “You cursed me.” Brian giggled and took a sip of his drink. “Hey Kev...I heard you got us breakfast.” “Yeah, it’s by the table. You three get sandwiches.” “How about me?”Nick asked. “We’re getting salad.”Kevin smiled. “And it’s not vegetarian salad.” Nick grinned. “That’s good enough. I need my meat.” “I know.”Kevin replied. “Now, go sit, I’ll take some ice to cool that burn down.” Leaving the hungry Backstreet Boys in the meeting room, Kevin went to the joint pantry room Johnny was, surprisingly, in there, getting himself a quick fix of coffee. “Hey Kevin, good, you’re here.”Johnny said as he stirred his drink. “I have to talk to you.” “Yeah? What about?”Kevin asked, grabbing a zip lock bag and heading for the fridge. “We called CI Weiss and met with an agreement.”Johnny started. “Yeah? Is it good?”Placing the zip lock bag under the ice maker, he pressed the button and ice cubes started filling up the bag. “We can’t make any official statements for as long as their investigation is on going.”Johnny explained. “Is that so?” “Yes. And they agreed to keep all your info confidential. No one has to know you’re somewhat involved in the on going investigation of the woman’s death.” Kevin secured the bag and finally looked at Johnny. “Well then, so everything’s cool?” “They said if it makes it look like you and Nick were there because of his DUI thing, it’s best to leave it at that.” Kevin frowned. “And what do you think of that Johnny? You really think it’s okay to let those stupid tabloids keep drilling dirt on Nick? He’s had enough of those shit, you know that.” “I don’t like it one bit Kevin. But I’m here sitting ducks. Make them think it was Nick’s DUI or make them believe Kevin is up to something. And since the killer is still out there and telling the truth might have you killed, I’m going with this.” Kevin is the damage controller in the group. That was in fact, another one of his many nicknames the guys had made up for him. It was one of the responsibilities that Kevin took willingly and with a lot of pride put in it. He was told by friends of his father, that Jerald Richardson was known for someone who took responsibility for everyone else around him. Kevin had always prided himself in the traits that connected him with his dad. It’s simple things like this that drive him to work everyday. Now that title was about to be broken. “Nick will understand Kevin,”Johnny said when Kevin had stayed silent. “he wouldn’t want any danger to come to you.” “I gotta go, Nick managed to spill his drink and burnt himself.” “Some things never change,”Johnny said. “Like a klutzy Nick Carter.” Nick was picking at his salad when Kevin returned. He sat on the coffee table facing Nick and motioned for him to stretch his hand out. “Is it that horrible?”Kevin asked, looking at the still full bowl of salad. Nick didn’t even cringe when Kevin plopped the ice bag on his hand. “It is when you see them with those sandwich.”Nick said. “Wanna know something they don’t?”Kevin whispered. “What?”Nick grinned. “I requested to cut down on the mayonnaise and all the fat stuff in the sandwich.” Nick’s grin grew wider. “Nice.” “Hey, is that my jacket you’re wearing?” “What? Oh!”Nick exclaimed. “Yeah, that’s why I spilled my drink when I saw you.” “Cause you wore my jacket?” “I thought you’d be mad at me. I didn’t mean it though. I was cleaning the room for Brian and I saw your jacket so I took it to my room and placed it next to my jacket. And this morning, we overslept so I had to rush and well...” Kevin turned to look at Brian. “I see he managed to find his shoes.” “Yeah, it was under his bed.”Nick snickered. “I think fatherhood is messing with his memory.” “I’ll say.” “So...you’re not mad?” “No, I’m not.”Kevin said. “Actually I’m glad you bring it here.” “Oh?” “Yeah. Put your hand in the left pocket, tell me if you find something in there.” Nick did as told and pulled out a small black casing. “It’s a memory stick.” “You know what that is?”Kevin asked, surprised. “Yeah, I have one of these with me everywhere I go.”Nick said as he pulled out one from the pocket of his pants. It was attached together with a bunch of keys. “You know how to use this thing?” “Yeah. It’s like a diskette or a blank CD. But this small thing here can hold thousands of files and it’s tiny, good for traveling.”Nick explained. “Ok cool. Can you help me check this one out? After the meeting.” “Yeah sure. I have my laptop, we can take a look at it later.” “Take a look at what?”Howie asked as he walked over and sat next to Nick. “Kevin has a memory stick and doesn’t know how to use it.”Nick laughed. “Memory stick?”Brian frowned as he came over to take a look at it. “I’m only familiar with joystick, the one that comes along with Nintendo sometimes.” “I know a whole different stick altogether.”AJ grinned. “Keep it to yourself J.”Howie laughed. “So why do you have it when you don’t know how to use it Kev?”Brian asked. Kevin sighed. This was when their lives were about to change. Kevin only hope they wouldn’t regret going through this with him. “It’s not mine.” Kevin looked around, making sure no one else was in the room before he spoke again. “I cant tell you guys right now, I mean, not here, but after the meeting, I promise I’ll tell everything.” “You’re scaring me.”Nick frowned. “You’re worrying me.”Brian said. “You’re making me way too excited.”AJ added. “You got me at memory stick.”Howie said, looking at the small device and still not having the slightest clue as to what it was. - The meeting had dragged on for what felt like ages. Kevin wasn’t even half listening as two representatives working on their official site explained their plans on how the fan club would go about and their primary functions. Several times Johnny had given him looks, thinking that Kevin was unhappy about how things were dealt with the police. Kevin wished it was that simple. He wondered if he had made the wrong decision in reporting the mugging to the police. If the guy wasn’t really a bad guy and that he’s life was in danger, Kevin just helped to make things worst. The man didn’t even say when he was going to contact Kevin again. Does that mean he had to sit around and just wait for the call that might never come? Would he have to keep looking over his shoulders and expected to find him standing there, telling him more than he needed to know? How in the world did Kevin manage to get himself into so much trouble? All he wanted was to cash out some money! “Okay gentlemen, if there’s nothing else, I’d like to wrap this meeting up.”Johnny announced as he arranged the stack of sheets in front of him. The sound startled Kevin, who was immediately brought back to the present. “Well? Anything?” A series of ‘no’, ‘don’t think so’, ‘I think that’s it’ could be heard. Johnny nodded his head. “Thanks Shirley and David for your presentation. We’ll KIV this matter for another four weeks before we see you again with the latest updates.” Once Shirley and David left the office, Johnny looked at the five gentlemen he felt he had known for his entire life. “Gentlemen, I’ve talked to all of you individually about Kevin’s mugging incident and how he’s currently helping out the police in the murder investigation. While I do understand that Kevin has nothing to hide from them and that this matter will most likely go away in a week or two, I’d like all of us to exercise caution. We have to keep this to ourselves for now, so until then, if you’re approached by any interviewers or tabloid magazines to talk about those misleading pictures in the Enquirer, please refrain yourself from saying anything about the mugging or the murder.” “But we can tell them that the whole me and Howie not being Nick’s true friends a crap of bull right?”Brian asked. “Yes, that you can say. It’s tarnishing your good image and making the group look bad, so yeah, you can do that.” “We got it Johnny.”Howie said. “Don’t worry about it.” “I know I can count on you guys.”Johnny said. “If that’s the case, then we can all go back home now. There’s practice starting tomorrow morning.” Once Johnny started to stand up, Kevin called out for the manager. “Is this room available for us to use? We’re thinking of going through the set list for our upcoming shows so we can get straight to performance practice tomorrow.” Johnny looked pleased. Anything that showed how hardworking and dedicated the boys are towards the group would please Johnny Wright. “Yeah, take your time. I’ll inform Julie at front desk to keep this room booked as long as you’re in there.” “Thanks man.” Once Johnny left, Kevin made sure that ‘meeting in progress’ sign was up on the door before locking it. He didn’t close the blinds so that from the outside, it would look as if they were having serious discussions that were related to the group. It would also serve as a warning should anyone wanted to come in. “Well Kev, we’re all here now.”AJ said. “In this locked room.”Brian said. “With no place left to go.”Nick added. “That’s a line from Incomplete.”Howie pointed out. “Yeah, AJ’s.”Nick said. “By the way Brian, crap of bull?”AJ asked. “Yeah, what’s wrong with that?” “Nothing, except it’s bull of crap.”Howie said. “That sounds funny to me.”Nick said. “Everything sounds funny when we’re conversating Nick.”Brian pointed out. “Yeah, it’s comprehendable like that.”Howie added. “Shut up.” Kevin shook his head and returned to his seat. “Can we settle at bullshit then?” “That sounds nice.”AJ agreed. “And simple.”Brian claimed. “Great, now what is it you wanted to tell us Kevin? And no bullshitting around.”Nick said. AJ laughed at bullshitting. “I met my mugger at the parking lot at Subway.” “What did I tell you about no bullshitting around?”Nick frowned. “I’m not bullshitting you.”Kevin said calmly, aware of the glass panel window. “I was about to drive off when he came to me.” Everyone was looking at him with confused, worried eyes. “Thank God you’re okay. You’re okay right?”Brian asked. “I’m fine.”Kevin said. And so Kevin retold the little encounter he had earlier with the mugger and how the memory stick had came to his possession. By the time Kevin was done telling them everything, the guys were practically shaking their heads disbeliefs. “So...you’re saying, he’s a good guy?”Nick asked. “I’m not sure about that for now.”Kevin said. “For all I know, he’s messing with me.” “He could be the killer.”Howie pointed out. “I don’t know D, I’m gonna have to check again what time the woman was murdered.” “And he asked you to take a look at the memory stick?”Brian asked. “Yeah.” “And he expects you to sit on your ass and wait for him to contact you again?”AJ frowned. “That’s about it.” Everyone went silent again before Nick spoke up. “I think we should just watch whatever is in this memory stick.” “Wait,”Kevin said. “whatever it is that is in that thing, chances are, it holds dangerous knowledge. And if it’s such a huge secret, you’ll walk out of this room with that secret on your shoulder. So I’m going to say right now, that I’ll be perfectly fine if you chose not to watch it. In fact, I think that’s the wisest choice to make.” “Nah, I’m in.”AJ said in a heartbeat. “Me too.”Nick said. “Plus, I’m the only one who knows how to open this thing.” Brian laughed. “Yeah, I’m in. But if it’s something gross like child porn, I’ll be out of here before I even said gotta go!” “Howie?”Kevin asked. “You know I’m in no matter what.”Howie smiled. “Go ahead Nicky, open that sucker up.” “Okay Howard, that just sounds porn ish.”AJ pointed out. “Everything is porn ish with you J.” The guys crowded around Nick as he opened the small casing and took out the memory stick carefully. Sticking the end of it into the USB slot on his laptop, the guys looked on as he clicked on more buttons in an attempt to open the files. “Damn Nick, whatever it is you’re doing, it looks cool.”Howie said. “I feel like I’m in that movie, The Net.”Brian said. “I wish there’s Sandra Bullock in this one though.” “Nah, we look like we’re in that movie, Hackers. Kick ass.”AJ said. “Actually, this is like putting a CD or a diskette into your computer and opening it up.”Nick pointed out. “Nothing genius about it.” “That just makes us look stupid.”Kevin mumbled. “Okay here we go.”Nick said as the screen showed the contents of the memory stick. “Hmmm...there’s only one file here Kev...and it’s a mpeg format...that means it’s a video.” “Brian?”AJ called. “Yeah?” “In case this is child porn, get yourself ready to bolt out of here bro.” “I don’t think the man would be so stupid to pass something as disturbing as that to a total stranger J.”Howie said. Nick double clicked on the file and waited for the media player to pop up. The video lasted not more than 2 minutes, but what it showed had left everyone numbed and shocked. Tonight, all of them would sleep in fear, if sleep ever come at all.

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