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2: Reversing Roles

Nick didn’t make that call. At the third ring, he decided against it. He sank back into his chair, swiveling lazily as his gaze fell on the stack of pictures again. He picked on out in random. It was a group picture, a contender for the cover even though most likely, they wouldn’t even have their faces up front like they used to. It was a black and white photo with a hint of sepia effect to it. If you bend it to a certain angle, you’ll see them in tattered clothes with their faces covered in dirt, sweat and bruises, the sky dark and gloomy. Ahead of them, a stretch of endless road. And if you bend it on another angle, the picture will move, the sky turned blue but not perfectly clear, they were now standing in the middle of the road, their clothes no longer torn yet there wasn’t anything extravagant to it. Nick in particular, was laughing, looking to his right, where Kevin was. It was one of those laughs the fans would call ‘unguarded’ and it did feel that way. With the guys around him, there was nothing to hide. He decided he liked that picture of them. He liked the effect too. The boys had been through a lot but they still see that there are roads left to explore ahead of them. And while they were in a comfortable spot right then, in between of what was the past and what would be the future, hard times will always sneak up on them and gave them the reality check they all needed from time to time. Lost in thoughts, he finally wove his way back and realized it was past his bed time. They had to be at the rehearsal studio by ten and to wake up moody while Kevin was there would be unwise. He got up, switched the lights off and went up the stairs to his room. He paused though when he reached Kevin’s room and decided to enter it. It was dark and Nick wasn’t sure if Kevin was asleep yet but he decided to give it a shot. He went to the right side of the bed, where Kevin was and sat on the edge. “Kev.” “What?” “Great, you’re not asleep.” “Can’t sleep.” “I understand.” “Sure you do.” “I do.” Nick replied. “Those things I said about monsters under the bed…I wasn’t lying.” He heard Kevin snickered. “So anyway, I wanted to call Howie and tell him what happened.” Nick felt Kevin moved a little. “Did you?” “Nope.” Nick replied. “Wanna know why?” “Why Nick.” “Cause it’s not my place to tell.” There was a few seconds of silence before Kevin spoke again. “I will tell them.” “I’d like that.” Nick replied. “Cause Kev, it’s okay to feel weak sometimes.” “Weak?” “Yeah…or helpless, take your pick.” Nick said, shifting a little to try to see Kevin’s face in the dark. “I guess it’s easier to be me than you.” “It is?” Kevin said, a hint of tease in his voice. “Yeah…when they arrested me that day, I was too drunk to think straight Kev. It wasn’t until I felt that cold hard steel on my wrist and feeling trapped in that police car that I got a little sobered.” “And that’s why it’s easier being you? I don’t get it.” “Of course that’s not it you goon. I haven’t finish yet.” Nick said. “It’s like someone kicked me in the head or something…I felt this sudden rush of emotions in me, fear, helpless, weak, happy…so I cried. I’m telling you it’s easier being me cause I can cry. God forbid if they see Kevin Richardson cry.” “You sure you felt happy at that point too?” Kevin asked, almost to a point of whisper. The whole conversation was so intimate that nothing else exist in that room. To Kevin, it almost felt like he was in a confession booth. He wasn’t entirely sure who was the Father then though. “I did.” Nick nodded. “Man…I was so lost you had no idea. I’ve been hating myself for so long that I ended up embracing this side of me. I can’t even remember the name of that girl I argued with that night, but it was stupid. She wanted to leave and I wouldn’t let her. You don’t leave when I’m still around wanting to enjoy myself. Who are you anyway? I’m THE man, you listen to ME. I could get a woman ten times prettier than you are anyway. The things that came out of me that night…anyway…I was lost, I don’t know who I was anymore, I live for the moment and to hell with everything else. But in that police car…I begin to feel again, you know? I don’t have to act tough cause for once, I was really scared and helpless. And I thought, damn, I feel something. So I’m happy.” “And you cried.” Kevin said. Nick nodded. “I cried.” “So…you want me to cry?” Nick laughed. “No old man, I don’t want you to cry…I just want to tell you that it’s okay…everything will be all right.” “I know it will Nick. I just got mugged and yeah it shocked me…but I won’t lost myself, don’t worry.” “Then you will make that police report?” “Tomorrow morning.” “I’ll go with you.” “We have rehearsals tomorrow.” “That’s at 10. We can get out at 8 and still make it to the studio on time.” “Wow. Nick on time…don’t wanna miss that.” “Jerk.” Nick said as he got up from the bed and made his way out of the room. “Goodnight Kev.” “Hey Nick.” Nick was already standing outside of the door. The light was on, so Kevin could see him clearly. Nick was facing a dark room, trying to find Kevin’s silhouette. “Yeah?” “So when did you overcome that fear of those monsters under your bed?” Nick shrugged. “Remember that day when we found out FIRM screwed us? I went back home, lye in my bed for the longest time and decided there’re worst monsters out there that I’ve met and handled…this one under my bed is nothing.” “Just like that?” Kevin mused. “Just like that.” Nick smiled. “Night Kev, don’t let the monsters bite.” Nick lye on his bed recalling the conversation he just had with Kevin. There were many such ‘visits’ he was lucky enough to have experienced growing up with the guys, but that had been the first time that their roles took a reverse. He knew there was something Kevin wasn’t telling but he decided it wasn’t his place to probe. Kevin gave him room to come around and talked to him in the past, he figured he should do the same now. Hoping that he had made some sort of sense talking with Kevin that night, Nick fell into a deep sleep