A/n: Hi again! As always, I’d like to thank you girls who took time to review; knowing that you like what I have so far is always a nice thing.
Nick sat on the bench facing the reception counter and tried to concentrate on the message AJ had just left him on his sidekick. Around him, the hectic atmosphere of LA’s Police Department played out like a distant buzz in his ears. No one paid attention to him and that was exactly how he wanted things to be. Nick knew from then on, he had to be with Kevin whenever he was required to come to the headquarters. Nick was the cover up, the alternate story that the tabloids and paparazzi would have a field day with pictures and articles spawned from webs of lies. As long as Kevin’s real intentions of being anywhere near a police department was kept under wraps, Nick was willing to take one for the team. How can you spell a pretty girl with two letters? Nick smirked. Ho While waiting for AJ’s reply, Nick decided to look up and did some neck movement to release the strains on his neck from staring down for a long time. It was bad timing when he saw Chief Inspector Weiss walking towards him, their eyes met. His strides slowed and eventually stopped in front of him. “Why are you here?” Weiss asked; his voice low, almost as if spitting on him, while his body language showed him at ease. Nick stole a glance across the busy open area and on to a room where Kevin was in, waiting for Weiss to make an appearance. He knew Kevin could see them from there. “Waiting for Kevin.” Nick smiled. “I know that.” Weiss said impatiently. “I meant, why are you here? When I told you I didn’t want you around. Another Backstreet Boy could come with him.” “Well, I’m the one with a DUI on my record. I’m here so the media won’t have a field day with Kevin.” Nick said. “You know, if word got out that he’s here for the Susan Felding’s case, everyone would have more on their plate to handle.” Weiss smirked. “So you’re taking the bad rep.” “I’m sure you’re happy to know that.” “I am.” “Great.” Nick smiled. His sidekick vibrated and Nick waved it around. “I’ll just wait here, like every other normal visitor then.” “You do that.” Weiss said and left. It was AJ. I said ‘pretty girls’ not ‘sluts’ you numb nuts. And the answer is QT. Get it? Cutey? - Kevin was beside himself. As if last night’s unveiling of the video wasn’t hard enough for him to swallow, he had to wake up and find out the only person who could shed some light to this string of nightmares he was in, was found dead; and probably from the same people who had killed those two men and Sarah Felding. Sitting alone in what was supposed to be an interrogation room, it finally hit Kevin that everything he had seen for the past few days had been REAL. And the terror set in when he realized he had roped all the guys into his mess. He gazed outside, hoping Nick was all right by himself out there. Kevin could tell that it killed Nick to be in a police station, not to mention now he had to do it to cover Kevin’s behind. And as much as Kevin hated having to put his little brother in that position, he had to. Inspector Weiss had stopped by to talk to Nick, their conversation would remain a mystery to Kevin. He eyed the man as he made his way into the room and greeted Kevin with that cordial smile and handshake. “Kevin,” Weiss said, offering a handshake. “I’m sorry you have to come here under such circumstances.” “I understand.” “Would you like to identify the body now? Or would you like a few moments by yourself?” “Let’s just do it now. No point in holding this back any longer.” “Great. Come with me.” Kevin stole a glance over at Nick, who was in time to look up and found him coming out of the room. There was a look that only both of them shared and understood, the kind of look that all five of them learned to see in situations where words would not do.I’m with you. They passed by Andy Myers’ room and down a corridor and two flights of stairs before Kevin was greeted with the Morgue. The place was cold and chilling. Kevin could smell the lingering smell of blood, raw skin and the nauseating smell of something rotten. He stood still in the middle of the room while Inspector Weiss went ahead and talked to one of the attendants there. They exchanged a few words before the man pulled open one of the many storage bins and revealed a covered body. Kevin moved forward. “Are you ready?” Kevin nodded. Inspector Weiss nodded and the man pulled down the cover and revealed his mugger. He was exactly how he remembered him back in the car park a day ago. Except that he was much paler, had a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead and very dead. Kevin looked away as flashes of memories came back to him; that pleading look in his eyes as he explained himself back at the car park. He felt the bile rising up into his throat but Kevin forced himself to stay calm. There was nothing to puke about. It was just a body. Just a body. “Is that him?” Kevin nodded. “Yes…it’s him.” “Are you sure? No doubts at all?” “No doubts. It’s him.” “Okay, let’s get out of here and take some fresh air.” Kevin wasn’t about to argue with that. They left the morgue and went back to the interrogation room he was in earlier. Passing by Andy Myers’ room, he saw him sitting by one of the kids’ corners, laughing with a young boy not older than eleven. He saw Nick, busy punching away on his sidekick. As he entered the room, the strong aroma of black coffee hit him. He didn’t remember smelling black coffee when he was in there earlier. “Take a seat Kevin, and have a drink.” Inspector Weiss said, pouring a cup and passing it to him. “Thanks.” Inspector Weiss nodded and smiled before taking a seat, facing him. “His name is Michael Hamann. 26 years old, worked for LA Times as a photographer. He was a good friend of Sarah Felding, the woman who was murdered near where you were mugged.” Kevin nodded. It was time to get some dirt. “Do you think he killed Sarah?” Inspector Weiss studied Kevin for awhile, which made him a little uneasy, before he replied. “He doesn’t have a motive. They were good friends, there were a few eyewitness saying they were seen having dinner together at a nearby restaurant. If you want to kill someone, you wouldn’t spend hours having dinner with her, in a public place, would you?” Kevin nodded. “I guess you’re right…besides, why would he mug me right after killing someone?” “That’s another thing that has me stumped Kevin.” Inspector Weiss said. “Michael Hamann was paid very highly for his work with the LA Times, plus, he had an independent studio and worked freelance on the side. He didn’t need to go around mugging a celebrity.” Kevin stayed silent, still unsure if he should tell him about the encounter with Michael Hamann just the day before. “And he was killed the same way Sarah Felding was. We’re seeing a pattern here.” “But it still doesn’t make sense why he would go and mug me. I have nothing to do with anything.” Inspector Weiss drew out an A4 brown envelope from his jacket and took out Kevin’s wallet. “We found this in the jacket he was wearing; seems like everything is still in there, along with your $200 cash and a receipt from your last ATM withdrawal.” He returned the wallet to Kevin. “You might want to check if there’s anything else missing in there.” “That won’t be necessary. I have nothing of much value in here except for my driver’s license and the cash.” Yes I’ve been driving without my license for the last three days, don’t you even start with me. “If that’s the case, we’re done for now. I just need you to sign these forms for me. It’s to show that you have seen and identified the body.” Kevin nodded and started signing on all four pages. “One last question if you don’t mind?” “Sure.” Kevin said as he started signing the last page. “Are you sure he said nothing to you when he attacked you that night? Anything that would be a clue to say that he was staging the whole mugging thing?” This is it, Kevin thought. He could tell him about that car park incident from the night before. It was now or never. Kevin found himself shaking his head. “All he did was shock me with his attack, started punching me and yelled at me for my wallet.” Inspector Weiss nodded, sighing as if in resignation. “Well then, if that’s the case, we have nothing more to do here Kevin. I would however advise you to stay in touch, in case something new comes up.” “Am I involved in this murder case?” “I’d like to say no, but when Michael Hamann attacked you that night, you were already added into the equation.” How do you know when a ghost is about to faint? Nick smirked at the question. Sending him weird riddles wasn’t what he had in mind when he told AJ he needed some kind of entertainment while waiting for Kevin to be done. He could already imagine Brian sitting next to him, egging him on. He tried to come up with a quick comeback but more often than not, Nick found himself stumped by the tense energy he got from just being in a police station. When it sees you, wakakakaka! “I see you have your hands full.” Nick was so startled by the unexpected intrusion that he dropped the sidekick. “Jesus Kevin!” Kevin knelt down and grabbed the device and handed it back to Nick, who was still rubbing away at his chest. “Man, I’m sorry bro; I didn’t mean to scare you.” “Scare me? Please!” Nick smirked. “Startled yes, scared, definitely not.” Kevin wasn’t convinced and Nick knew it. He bet he looked as pale as a sheet right about now. Damn that’s the answer! Pale as a sheet! “Okay whatever; the fact that you’re visibly shaken right now doesn’t-” “Kevin please, I’m all right.” Nick smiled, which wasn’t really convincing when he was trembling. “Look…can we leave now?” “Yeah, we can leave, let’s go.” Kevin placed his arm across his shoulder and let it rest there as they walked out of the building and into the open car park. Nick was feeling much better once they were out there; the trembling that Kevin could feel on his body was slowly dissipating. “I’m telling Johnny that we’re not going to use you just to save my butt anymore Nick.” “Kevin…I was startled okay? Shock…it’s no biggie.” Nick protested. Other people would say big deal, Nick say biggie. How could Kevin not feel overprotective about him? “It is a biggie Nick. I hate knowing we’re all using you.” “Dude Kev, first of all, you’re not using me.” Nick said. “I want to do this, this helps.” “This is not helping Nick.” “It is! I’m helping you out. I feel useful this way. It makes me feel…important. I hate just standing around and do nothing, it’ll kill me.” “I don’t want you to get hurt cause of this. Any of you. This is really some serious shit I’m in to.” “No shit Kevin.” Nick snorted. “I know that. We know that. And we’re in this no matter what you say. So shut up already.” “You realize people are dead and we could end up like them too.” Kevin pointed out. Flashes of the two dead men froze in Nick’s mind. Picture the button and turn it off! “I know Kevin, and we’re not gonna end up like them. Now could you please just act cool, I know the paparazzi are out there taking shots of us, I’m wearing this hot pink shirt not for nothing okay?” - It was difficult for Howie to concentrate when he knew Brian was nearby, on the phone, lying his way through Kristin. It was even harder to know how easy it sounded for Brian to pull a fast answer to every question Kristin had. She would be very upset once she found out the truth, but Howie had to take on Kevin’s side in this one. He knew if it was him, he’d keep it away from his wife too, should he have one later in life. “I’m just glad I didn’t pick up that call.” AJ whispered next to him. Howie nodded. “Kevin probably turned his cell phone off, you know; didn’t want to wake up the dead.” Howie stared at him tiredly until AJ waved his hands as if in surrender. “Fine, fine, lame ass joke Alex.” “Don’t you even think about telling that joke when Nick’s around.” Howie warned. AJ groaned. “I swear Nick is a baby sometimes.” “So…what have we got so far?” Howie asked as he studied the newspaper clippings he had managed to compile together. AJ was still facing the laptop and surfing for information online, a task that Howie had willingly let AJ handle. “Well,” AJ said as he rubbed his palms together. “We know there was no news or announcements on the obituary section about the death of those 2 men. Identities still a mystery as of right now.” “Which means someone came back to stash away the bodies.” Howie said, and then as an afterthought, added, “Somewhere.” “Right, and John Klass is going to have his first speech in two days. Obviously he’s playing dirty and his secretary decided to expose him.” “Thing is,” Howie said. “How far is he getting support from? Obviously we can’t trust the owners of that restaurant.” “Ugh…I can’t believe we had dinner there.” AJ shuddered. “Me too.” Howie said. “Now at least we know two of his campaign workers are with him. What we don’t know is the identity of that other man in the video.” “One of the guys who shot those two guys. The one with the shocking white hair.” AJ said. “Yeah him. We have no clue who the heck he is. We’ve gone through all of John Klass’ campaign workers, his immediate supporters, his family, friends…everyone and anyone connected to him that we can find info on. He’s not there.” “Did we find anything on John Klass himself? Any dirt on him?” AJ asked. “Nope.” Howie sighed. “Unfortunately, John Klass looks like a saint next to his fellow competitor. His plans so far received a lot of support.” “Great!” AJ groaned. “We can’t trust anybody.” Right at that moment, Brian managed to finally convince Kristin that her husband was doing fine alone in the house and the slamming of car doors right outside the porch signaled that both Kevin and Nick had returned. “How did it go Kev?” Howie asked as Kevin walked past him and carelessly threw his wallet on the table. “Awful.” Kevin said, going straight to the kitchen and grabbing himself a can of coke. When he returned to the table where the guys had obviously busied themselves with rounding up as much information as they could about the mess they found themselves in, Nick was already grabbing for Kevin’s wallet, going through every pocket with his eyes wide in anticipation. He laughed when he saw a small old picture of the Backstreet Boys on their first show at Disneyland. Kevin had totally forgotten about that. “Did they say if they think this guy is connected to the murder like we think he did?” Brian asked. Kevin nodded. “They can’t find a motive why Michael Hamann…the mugger, would want to rob me when he’s highly paid by the LA Times. They know something’s wrong with that picture.” “Don’t you think it’s best that you just tell them about what this Michael guy told you and wash your hands clean of this problem?” Brian asked. “You think it’d be that easy?” Kevin asked. “Why do you think he didn’t go straight to the police? Why randomly hit someone and pass the memory stick to that person? John Klass knows people; he’ll have us tracked down sooner or later.” “Ok guys I’m sorry, we just got back from the LAPD and I had the most traumatic experience of just sitting there and enduring AJ’s lame riddles, and Rok, I know you played a part in that too. So please, to lighten up the mood a little, Kevin, could you please amuse me with the reason behind this funny looking key in your wallet?” Kevin stared at the small key Nick was holding in his hand. “Now, now Kevin, what does LAPL means?” Howie grinned. “Sounds like a strip club to me.” Nick laughed. “Everything sounds like a strip club to you.” AJ pointed out. “That key doesn’t belong to me.” Kevin said. “Put it back Nick, the police might have put it there by mistake. I’ll just return it -” “Police don’t make mistakes like that Kevin.” Howie said. “Every item held by the police would be labeled. This key doesn’t have a label on it.” “What if it belonged to Michael Hamann?” Brian asked. “It’s still not mine. So again, I’ll return it to them tomorrow, first thing in the morning. In fact, I’m going to call Inspector Weiss right now.” Kevin said as he got up to make the phone call. “No, Kevin, wait!” Nick cried, rushing over to stop him. “Look,” Nick placed the key on Kevin’s palm, the other side up. “He marked your name on the key Kevin, whatever this thing opens; he wants you to have it.”