A/n: Congratulations everyone who break the code faster than Nick and Kevin, lmao. It wasnt that hard really, cause I'm not good at making codes, lmao! Those English lessons in school helped though, lmao. Okay, so here's the next chapter for you! I think there will be most probably 1 or 2 more chapters before we wrap things up. But nothing is certain yet, lmao. As always, THANK YOU for taking the time out to review! It really really means a lot! :)
“Before we take a look at this, I just want to say thank you for everything.” Kevin said. The book café was crowded. Groups of people from all different walks of life gathered with friends as they drank and discussed a project or a book they borrowed. For a short moment, as Kevin studied his surroundings to make sure it was safe to watch the video, he felt jealous. He wanted the carefree life they had and the reason to laugh and smile again without having this constant fear nagging at the back of his mind. But that jealousy left him as soon as it entered, knowing fully well that it wouldn’t bring him anywhere closer to solving the problem at hand. “You don’t have to thank me, you know that. You’d be totally up on my case if things were reversed.” Kevin nodded. “I know. But you’ve been really helpful, well, extra helpful with the whole covering my butt up from the tabloids to solving that little riddle.” “All in a day of the life of a Backstreet boy.” Nick joked. “When we say we’re brothers, we really mean it.” “I’m glad.” Kevin said as he shook the uneasy feeling off. “Well, let’s do this.” Nick nodded and went on to click open the video file. Nick passed the right ear piece to Kevin while he took the left. Michael Hamann was sitting on the edge of a bed, in what looked like a motel room. He was wearing that same outfit when Kevin found him in the car park. There was fear so intense in his eyes that it made Kevin shudder involuntarily. Chief Inspector Weiss I trust that it is you who is watching this tape right now, or else chances are, no one will find out the truth, and Kevin Richardson would probably be in a huge mess right now, if not dead. Kevin closed his eyes and tried to swallow that huge lump that now seemed to restrict his air way. Nick’s hand on his shoulder made him looked at the screen again. It also means that I’m dead by the way and chances are, you’ve found me and returned Kevin’s wallet to him. That would be the only way he’d find this video. I do believe Kevin had handed to you a memory stick that holds all the answers to Sarah Felding’s murder…and mine. This video serves as a stand in witness; for I know I won’t see the day this matter will be put on trial. Kevin clicked the stop button. “Wait Kevin, we should watch this entire thing.” Nick said. “It’s just him talking about what he knew Nick. It’s the evidence,” Kevin explained. “And I know now my job is to send this plus that memory stick, over to Inspector Weiss, you heard him.” “You’re going to go, like, now?” Nick asked. He watched as Kevin ejected the small CD out and placed it back in the envelope. He placed it in the pocket under his jacket. “Right now,” Kevin nodded. “Get this over and done with.” Nick nodded and started to pack his stuff. His hands were visibly shaking. “Okay, let me just pack this stuff and we’ll-” “You’re not coming with me, not this time.” Kevin said. Nick stopped in his tracks, frowning as he looked up at Kevin. “What do you mean I’m not going? I always go with you to the police.” “Not this time bro,” Kevin said. “I have something else I need you to do.” “What could possibly be more important than this?” Nick argued. Kevin placed his hands on Nick’s shoulder, trying to calm him down. “Remember I had a picture of all of us in my wallet?” “Yeah.” “I’m not taking any risks Nick, and chances are, whoever killed Michael Hamann, could have gone through everything in the room including whatever was on him. If that happened, they would want to make sure all angles are covered. We could be one of the many angles they might want to look into, see if we’re a part of this whole mess.” “You think they know we know?” “I don’t know Nick, but I need you to go get Brian, put Leigh and Baylee on a plane and wait for me at Jive. You guys should be safe there.” “And you?” “I’ll be at the police station so I’ll be safe.” Kevin assured him. “Once this lands on Weiss’ hands, we’re home free.” Nick nodded, still unsure if they were making the right decision. He hated the idea of being separated. “Come on, I’ll put you in a cab before I go.” Nick grabbed his duffle bag, slung it across his shoulder and held on to the strap as if it was his lifeline. He really didn’t feel like taking a cab all alone. Outside, the day looked like any normal day. People walked by, the streets were busy, roadside vendors selling hot dogs and pretzels, calling out to passersby to try them. Nick felt as if he was in a twilight zone. No one knew and no one cared. “Nick, I need you to calm down and concentrate okay? You’re going to be all right. Just go to Brian and then drive back to Jive, where D and J are. I will be back.” It didn’t take long for a cab to pass by and Kevin wasted no time in flagging it down. He told the cab driver where to go and even opened the backdoor for Nick. “Look, if things go wrong…if someone should approached you or any of the guys…tell them you know nothing okay? Tell them you know something’s up with me but I never told any of you guys anything. Do that for me okay?” “Kevin I-” “Nick, please.” His eyes felt misty but he blinked the tears away. “Just come back okay?” Kevin smiled. “You know I will.” - Officer Randy, the man who had first taken Kevin’s mugging report, was at the main reception counter, the very place Kevin and Nick had first approached to lodge the report. He immediately recognized him and smiled. “Mr. Richardson, what can I do for you today?” “Hi Randy, please call me Kevin.” Randy laughed. “Of course, of course. What can I do for you today Kevin?” “I’m here to see Inspector Weiss. Is he in?” “Oh, you just missed him by a few minutes. Is it important?” “It is. And I really need to see him urgently. Will he be back?” “I believe so. His shift doesn’t end till eleven tonight.” Randy replied. “How urgent is urgent?” “Very.” Kevin replied. “I have some info on Sarah Felding’s case, And Michael Hamann.” Randy nodded. “Okay you know what, I’m going to call him right now and see if he can talk with you.” “Thanks, I’d really appreciate that.” Kevin looked around the busy headquarters, watching as police officers kept coming through the entrance with people handcuffed. Some officers were taking a break and cracking jokes while munching on doughnuts and drinking hot coffee in a Styrofoam cup. “Kevin?” Randy called. “He’s on the line.” “Okay, thanks.” “Kevin, what’s the urgency?” “I have something that you’d like to look at. It’s something Michael Hamann left me.” “Something that he left you?” “It’s a video…two of them actually.” Kevin said, finding it hard to explain such a complicated thing over the phone. “He wants you to have it. It will definitely help you with the case.” “Michael Hamann left you two videos that he wanted me to have?” “Yes…it’s a long story. But I believe it’s enough to help you close the case.” “Okay I tell you what, why don’t you ask Randy to send you up to see my Chief? I’m working closely on the case with him. You can trust him as much as you can trust me. I’ll get back as soon as I can.” “If you say so. Who should I look for again?” “Chief Matthew Lee. He should be in.” “Okay I’ll do just that. Thanks.” “No thank you for coming forward.” Kevin passed the phone to Randy and waited as he returned it to its original place. “He told me to see Chief Matthew Lee.” “Okay, you want to walk straight up this way and take that stairs to the second floor. Turn left and you’ll see his office. Oh, and you’ll need this.” Randy said as he handed him a visitor’s pass. “Thanks Randy.” “Oh, he might still be in a meeting in another room, so if he’s not there, just go in and wait for him. I’ll get Felicia to inform him that you’re waiting.” “Felicia?” “Our receptionist on the second floor.” “Oh, thanks again Randy.” “Anytime man.” - Kevin had a few difficulties in finding the office but with his visitor’s pass safely hanging around his neck, he managed to ask around and found it. He went straight to the window and took in the scene of the world outside from where he was. Soon, he kept telling himself. Soon, this will all be over. He heard the door creak open and turned to face the man who had just entered the room. “Mr. Kevin Richardson right?” Kevin swallowed hard. “Mr. Matthew Lee?” “Yes, I understand Inspector Weiss sent you to see me?” “Yes.” The man smiled and motioned for Kevin to take a seat. “I heard you have something that will help us in the Sarah Felding case.” Kevin mentally told himself to calm down. If he played his cards right, he could get himself out of this mess. He smiled nervously. “Well, here’s the thing.” - Nick felt sick to his stomach. Time seemed to stand still as he felt himself frozen on the spot; Brian’s panicked voice now nothing more than a distant echo. Kevin’s voice kept ringing in his head, telling him that he could do this, that he shouldn’t panic, but Kevin was wrong. Nothing was all right and he couldn’t do this. The room felt like it was closing in on him. Everywhere around him, chaos ensued. His stomach felt like it was being squeezed from the inside, the contents now making its way up to his throat. “Oh God.” He managed, before he clamped his mouth shut and made a dash for the restroom, leaving Brian to face everyone alone. He made it to the empty cubicle before he emptied the contents of his stomach. When he finally felt it was safe to get up, he did so with disgust as he flushed the evidence away. He walked out of the cubicle and rinsed his mouth out, before taking a good look at his own reflection. How did things get so messed up? He started pacing the spacious restroom, back and forth, trying to figure out what to do next. Where could Howie and AJ be? How can they never have showed up at Jive? Should he send Brian home to Atlanta before it was too late? Should he call Kevin or wait for his call? Where should he go? They didn’t even have a back up plan, did they? Nick felt the tears now trickling down his cheeks and he brushed them off the back of his hand furiously. What did he know anyway, he was just a kid! He heard himself scoff; a twenty five year old is no kid. He should know how to handle this situation. He groaned loudly. Who was he kidding? He had no idea how to handle it at all. Brian entered the restroom with both his hands shoved deep in the pockets of his jeans. The worried frowns back on his face. It was a stark difference from the smiling and laughing Brian as he kissed his wife goodbye and made faces to his son as they boarded the plane. “I called Kevin.” Nick stopped pacing. “Did you tell him?” Brian shook his head. “He never answered his phone.” “Oh God Brian…please tell me he’s okay.” “He might have turned off his cell since he probably was talking with the police.” Nick shook his head. “Kevin wouldn’t totally severe any kind of connection from us, especially not now.” Brian walked further into the rest room until he could touch Nick’s shoulder and gave it a little reassuring squeeze. “Think we should go and get Kev? Maybe we can make a report about D and AJ even though technically we need to wait for twenty four hours before lodging a missing persons report.” “I don’t care Brian, I’m done waiting around. Let’s go get Kevin.” Nick said, surprised by his own decision. Where did that come from? “Johnny won’t let us off that easy.” Brian pointed out. “Now that Howie and AJ are missing…how long has it been since we left Kevin’s house?” Nick looked at his watch, almost six. They had gone their separate ways at around noon. “About six hours now.” Nick said. “Brian, they can’t just attack Howie and AJ in broad daylight.” “And no one can corner them in a back alley…they were driving.” Brian said. “Unless Howie and AJ stopped by somewhere and got out of their car…buying lunch perhaps?” Nick suggested. “Nick, I honestly don’t know what to do, but I do know discussing it in a restroom won’t help much.” “I know another way out of this building. We just need to get the heck away from Johnny.” Nick said. “Okay, where do we need to be?” Nick smirked. “There’s a flight of stairs right at the end of this floor, it’ll lead us to the fire escape route and straight to parking lot.” “We can pull that off right? Come on buddy, how about it, you and me, like the old times?” - “Why is it that when we are in a rush there’s always a traffic jam?” Brian groaned as he started tapping his fingers on the wheel furiously. He had been redialing Kevin’s number for awhile now but it was always busy. Both Howie’s and AJ’s sent him to their voicemails. Frustrated, he turned to look at what Nick was doing when there was no reply from him at all. He had that laptop of his opened. “What are you doing there bud?” Nick didn’t even look up. “Trying to find Howie and AJ.” “Through the net? Did you plant some detecting device on all of us when we weren’t looking?” Nick smirked. “Why go to that extreme when we have the secret service?” “We do?” Nick nodded. He turned the laptop sideways so Brian could see the screen. “Look at this one.” Nick pointed. Howie & AJ stopped by my workplace today! Brian’s eyes grew wide. “You got to love Live Daily Brian, even though they scare me most of the time.” Nick clicked on the thread and read the post. Brian was still beside himself. He kept looking back at the road, making sure the light didn’t turn green. “Did she say where she was working?” Brian asked. “Burger King.” Nick replied. “And she mentioned them walking back to the car with two men she didn’t recognize. They were in suits.” “Ask her which BK, Nick. Those guys could be John Klass’ men.” “I would if I had registered to this thing Rok.” “You didn’t?” “You think I did?” “AJ did.” “He what!” “He did.” “The bastard! He made me promise not to register!” “Well…I’m sure some girls asked that…you just got to sieve through that thread.” Nick shook his head. “No, this is even better…this girl has pictures.” “Wow…” Brian exclaimed. “And she got it online this quick.” “Digi cam I bet…or cellphone.” Nick said as he clicked on the first picture. It was a picture of her and Howie, and while no one would have guessed it, Nick could see the fear in Howie’s eyes. The picture was very clear and rather big; it didn’t take Nick that long to notice one of the men in suits standing in the background, to the left, looking very pissed. “Brian look, that’s the guy we saw in the video, the one who was guarding the door. I can remember that face even in the dark.” The traffic turned green. Brian stepped on the gas pedal, knowing that every second that passed mattered even more now. - The first thing Nick looked for once they parked at the visitor’s parking area of the LAPD was Kevin’s car. He was delighted to see that it was still there. “Great, Kevin’s car is still here Brian.” “Oh thank the Lord!” Brian cried. “Lets get this done quickly and then we can-” Brian was cut off when his cell phone started to ring. One look at the number and his body hunched. “Hello Johnny.” Nick grimaced. “Yeah…we kinda…sorta…” Nick signaled for Brian to get off the phone quickly. “No we didn’t mean to just up and leave like that…no see…” Nick showed his watch. “Wait, Johnny, hold on a sec okay? Just a second…no I won’t hang up on you!” Brian groaned and looked at Nick. “I’ll handle this with him. I think he needs to know what’s going on too. I’ll catch up with you.” Nick groaned. He didn’t feel like seeing John Weiss alone. “Fine, just make it quick.” Brian just waved him off as he got back into the car to shield his eyes from the afternoon sun and went back to facing the wrath of Johnny Wright. - The first person Nick saw when he entered the building was John Weiss himself. He looked tired and seemed to have just entered the building himself, which puzzled the blonde. He saw Nick and even though he didn’t do it, Nick could almost feel John Weiss’ urge of rolling his eyes at the sight of him. As if his presence there just made his bad day worse. “As always Mr. Carter, visitor’s seats are over there.” John Weiss said, pointing to the lone bench. “I’m looking for Kevin actually. He came here looking for you.” “I know, but I wasn’t around and he talked to my Chief who called me to say that Kevin left.” Nick frowned. “He left?” “That’s what I said.” “But his car is still parked outside.” John Weiss groaned. “Maybe he came back again, who knows?” “I need to see him.” “Fine, I don’t have time for this.” John Weiss asked the police officer on duty at the front desk for a visitor’s pass and handed it over to Nick. “Walk straight up this way, take those stairs to the second floor, turn left, you won’t miss it.” “Thanks.” “Tell Kevin, whatever videos he has; he can let the Chief have them. I’ll get into it as soon as I can.” Nick just nodded and hurried up the stairs. Perhaps this Chief whom John Weiss spoke about could help them. Perhaps this Chief wouldn’t be so judgmental. He knocked on the door three times before the impatience in him made him turn the door knob and enter. To his surprise, there was no one there. Nick wondered if he had been in the wrong office in the first place, but the name plate on the door said Chief Matthew Lee. Should there be two Chiefs in the first place? He looked at his watch and realized that time was wasting away. He knew he had no choice but to talk to John Weiss himself, and hopefully get him to listen without throwing sarcasm every five seconds. “Ugh, screw this!” He was about to leave when he paused and backed up his pace. He had stepped on something. Bending down, he realized it was a broken silver chain that looked like the one AJ had given Kevin. You can get this anywhere Nick...doesn't mean anything! “Great, now I’m being paranoid.” Nick said out loud. He looked around and decided to place the chain on the desk. It was then that Nick saw it and felt as if his heart had just plummeted from the hundredth floor and went splattering to the ground. Chief Matthew Lee was the man with the shocking white hair in the video.