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5: Change

Kevin wasn’t sure when it all changed; to point to a specific date or event would be impossible. He remembered one thing was for certain though, it shocked and hurt him when it did. He would eventually learn, the hard way, that changes occurred every second around him, they were subtle at first but when it finally hit him in the face, it hurt like a mother. There was an incident that still etched in his memories, one that he didn’t think he could ever forget. It was another one of those eye opening event that knocked him out of nowhere, waking him up to the changes that was happening, it shouldn’t be any different than the others, but it mattered to him. They were on their Millennium tour and immediately, everyone felt the changes. Kevin and Brian were newly weds, both still in their honeymoon phase. Kristin and Leighanne stayed with the tour almost 90% of the time. The album was doing much better than they would ever imagined, people were putting them on a new pedestal, the icons of the inbetween was what their manager used to call them. Album in 1999 and a tour that entered 2000. AJ, Nick and Howie brought their girlfriends on tour, everyone was happy. That was until he overheard a heated telephone conversation between Nick and his mother. He had never heard Nick so angry before. Sure the kid could wrestle anyone when he was mad, but this was different somehow. It was another kind of anger, something that Kevin had to admit, felt alien to him. Naturally, he felt the need to come forward and made sure if everything was all right. And later that night, it was exactly what he did. The concert had been brilliant even though they were already slightly under the weather. When Kevin knocked on Nick’s hotel room that night, he was in between getting dressed up, ready to prowl the night life and making himself a peanut butter jelly sandwich. “I’m going with AJ and Tony, you don’t have to worry Kev.” Nick said as he buttoned up his black shirt, not waiting for Kevin to even ask. “And the girlfriends?” Kevin asked as he made himself a sandwich. “I don’t know about AJ but I’m going alone.” “Oh?” “We had a fight, she left.” Kevin nodded knowingly. That wasn’t the first time it happened and Kevin had used up all the advices he thought would make a difference for Nick. Now he just nod and moved on to another subject. “I came cause I wanted to know if everything is all right with you.” Nick immediately paused, leaving the 2 top buttons undone. “With me? Of course, it’s just a fight Kevin, we’ll talk when she’s cool.” Suddenly, the sandwich doesn’t seem so appealing to him anymore. He placed it back on the small counter and tried to find the right words to say. “I overheard you talking with your mom earlier today. I just want to make sure you’re all right.” Nick’s demeanor changed for a second, it was as if he was mad at himself for being caught in a situation he didn’t want to be in. He smiled soon after though, but Kevin knew it was too late. He also wondered how many times Nick had used that smile to hide everything else. “You know how it is Kev, it’s nothing to worry about.” “But I do worry.” Kevin said. “I’ve always looked after you, after this group, I need to know when there’s something wrong.” “Kevin, I’m nineteen, you can’t look after me like how you used to. And you don’t NEED to know when there’s something wrong all the time, it’s not your problem.” “If it’s going to affect the group, it is my problem Nick,” Kevin stressed. “I always know when something’s up, you hiding it from me will do no good for anybody.” Nick was shaking his head, disbelieving what he had just heard. Kevin also noticed he was getting red on the face, a sign that his temper was about to flare. “Well if you ALWAYS know something’s up Kev, then why are you here asking me if I’m all right? You know what your problem is Kevin? You’re ALWAYS on my case and you know why? Cause I’m the freaking baby! Well newsflash Kev, I’m not 12 anymore, I can THINK and actually make decisions on my own. And this might surprise you, but I listen and see things you know. If you really want to look out for all of us, why don’t you make your next house call to AJ and ask him how he’s handling his alcohol cause he won’t hear nothing from me!” They came back before midnight, that was their curfew back then. Kevin knew this because he was wide awake in his room, unable to find a wink of sleep. He had been weighing the situations since what felt like forever. He wondered if he’ll ever know when it was the right time to step in or when to just back off and let them do their own mistakes. It was tough, throughout the years they spent together on the road, Kevin had lost count on the number of times when it became so bad for Nick that he’ll end up looking for him, not for a solution, just a shoulder to cry on. And it was a role Kevin learned to appreciate even more as time passed by. He was no longer the problem solver, just a shoulder. So when he found himself once again pacing in the waiting room of the LAPD Headquarters, cussing the situation he had led himself into while Nick sat calmly with his arms stretched on the table, he knew another change had just slapped him in the face.