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6: He’s My Brother

“Hey Kev.” Kevin paused midway, turning back to look at Nick whose calm features was annoying the crap out of him. “What.” “You think they have peanut butter and jelly down here?” Kevin only managed an amused look before the Chief Inspector they met earlier, Mr. Weiss, entered the room. He looked rather disturbed in Nick’s opinion but he wasn’t about to ask. “Kevin, I’d like you to work with our sketch artist right now.” Kevin looked unsure about it, in fact, he looked uncomfortable at the thought of working with a sketch artist. “I’ll do whatever you want me to, but I have to tell you not to put too much hope in this, I hardly see that guy, it was dark.” Mr. Weiss just smiled knowingly and opened the door and called for Randy, the officer they met earlier. Nick watched intently as Randy escorted Kevin into another room while the Chief Inspector went to talk to someone else out there, where police officers were working on reports, bringing in another criminal or about to start another shift patrolling the neighborhood. Nick wondered if he should just wait in the room or hang around somewhere out there. It felt like forever, just sitting there, no knowing what to do. Part of him was afraid to go out there, to be aware of the eyes staring at him from every corner. Another part of him was unsure if it was all right to have this huge room to himself. His throat felt dry all of a sudden and the small vending machine at the corner in the room felt tempting to him. He didn’t know why but being in a police station was nerve wrecking. After summing up his courage, he got up and got himself a drink. It was free too. “Enjoying your wait here Mr. Carter?” Nick turned around and found Mr. Weiss standing in the middle of the room. When the heck did he come in? “Nerve wrecking actually.” Nick smiled. Mr. Weiss didn’t seem to find anything amusing and didn’t return the smile. “You should know I guess, you’re very familiar with police stations.” That caught Nick by surprise. Was he referring to his arrests? Where did that come from? “Can’t really say I’m familiar with it,” Nick replied calmly. “I’m just worried about Kevin.” “Isn’t he the oldest in Backstreet Boys?” “Yes he is.” “So you don’t have to worry for him.” “Being old doesn’t have anything to do with worrying about him Mr. Weiss. He’s my brother you know, something this huge happens, it worries me.” “Does he worries about you?” “Yes, all the time.” “Ah, because you tend to get yourself into sticky situations.” Mr. Weiss said. “I personally would like to see you in jail Mr. Carter, for your DUI.” Nick almost dropped his drink. “I’m doing community service.” “And you think that settles the problem?” “That was the sentence I got Mr. Weiss, and frankly, it’s none of your business.” “When my teenage son is lying in a coma because some drunk ass college kid decided to ram his car and almost killed him, it becomes my problem, Nick.” “I’m not the guy who put your son in coma.” “What’s the difference between you and that punk ass? Nothing. But you’re a celebrity so I guess community service works for your schedule.” Nick was at a lost for words. Is this really happening to him? From the outside looking in, they’d think they were having a normal chat. You couldn’t tell from the man’s body language that he was about to strangle the life out of him. The Chief Inspector looked as composed as he always been. “Lost for words now? I thought so.” He smirked and walked away. Before he left the room, Mr. Weiss paused and turned to face him again. “Most visitors have to wait in the waiting bench right outside the receptionist area Nick, but I guess you’re special enough to stay. If I’m not this desperate for Kevin’s help, I would have kick you out of here myself.” Before he could even understand what had just transpired earlier, his cell phone rang. It was AJ. AJ was right after all, he thought. “That guy just called you a drunkard AJ, you’re not gonna do anything about it?” “Nah, he’s right.” “He’s NOT right! You’re not a drunkard. You worked for this for 2 years now!” “I know.” “Just say it man, I’ll beat him to a pulp!” “And then what Nick? Get yourself arrested for assault? Give people more reason to think you really hit people?” “I didn’t hit nobody.” “I know.” “This is so unfair.” “Well, unfair for your case. Fair for mine.” “There’s nothing fair for what that asshole said.” “The root of the matter is Kaos, I abuse alcohol, no matter how sober I get, I am still an alcoholic.” “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic?” “Something like that.” “That’s messed up.” “I know.” “Hey AJ, sup?” “Hey, you ok man?” “Me?” “Yeah.” Nick inhaled and let it out in one huge sigh. “I’m fine, why?” “Nah, you sound like you’re about to cry or something.” Nick laughed but it didn’t come off the way he wanted it. It was fake. “Just tired dude.” “Well, anyway, guess who’s free tonight?” “Hmmm…the roadie?” “Nah, roadie’s busy. But I’m free!” Nick made an exaggerated gasp. “No way! AJ McLean is FREE?” “Yup, I’m free and because I rock, I’m going to accompany your lonely self for dinner tonight. Your treat. How does that sound?” “That actually sounds great.” Nick replied, secretly wanting to tell him how lousy he was feeling right then. He really wanted to tell someone about what’s been going on with Kevin, but he knew the last thing he’d do is break his promise, especially when that promise is to Kevin. He had done a lot for him, breaking his promise wasn’t exactly the way to say thank you. “Damn, something must really be bothering you.” “Yeah? What gives?” “Gee I dunno…treating me to dinner without whining comes to mind.” “It’s cool bro…you’re a great buddy.” “Aww, so I’m your buddy now huh? I think I’ve just climbed Nick’s corporate ladder a notch.” “I think you have.” Nick snickered. “Great, so you’ll come pick me up at 8 sharp.” “Now that’s asking too much. I don’t feel like driving tonight, come pick me up.” “You’re no fun. Fine, 8pm, don’t be late.” “K. Hey AJ?” “Yeah?” “You think people will ever see past your rehab thing and not mention it ever again?” “That’s random but I’ll answer it for you cause you ask awesome questions.” Nick laughed. “Honestly Nicky? I’ll be dead and six feet under and people will still talk about it. I might have that on my tombstone too.” With that answer still ringing in his head, everything else went in a blur. When Kevin finally came back, he looked disturbed. That immediately throw any personal demons in him to the back of his mind. “Kev, you all right?” Kevin smiled. “I’m good.” “How did it go?” “Good.” “So you remember his face?” “Not exactly.” “Oh.” Nick said, unsure of what to say exactly. “Nick?” “Yeah?” “I think we can go home now.” “You sure?” “I just need to see Mr. Weiss again and then we’re off.” Nick really didn’t want to see that man again. For a police officer, he sure doesn’t have an open mind. It would be so easy to just tell Kevin that he’d wait in the car, totally avoiding the Chief Inspector, but this wasn’t about him. It was about Kevin, and being there for him. “Okay.” Mr. Weiss was in his room, looking over a bundle of files of lord knows what. “Ah, Kevin, I was told the sketch went very well. Thank you so much for helping us.” “I’m still not sure what I did to help, but I guess everything is good as long as we get a face.” “And a we face we got today, thanks to you.” “Does this mean I’m free now? I have nothing else to do with this thing right?” “For now, no. But we’ll need you to go through a line up once we get hold of this guy.” “Okay sure, I can do that.” “But before you go, I need you to sign some legal stuff over at the main counter. It’s a procedure basically putting everything in black and white that you’ve come down today to meet the sketch artist for this case.” Kevin nodded, freedom just another step away. “Sure, I’ll do that. Thank you again for helping me out.” As they shook hands, Nick watched the exchange between two men. He wondered if anyone would look at him that way and see past his mistakes. “Hey Kev, you go right ahead, I’ll catch up with you.” Nick said as Kevin left the office. “Believe it or not, they gave me some PB&J, wanna thank the man.” Kevin shook his head in amusement. “See you in the car.” Once Kevin was far from earshot, he turned back to the Chief Inspector. He had busied himself in his work again, not acknowledging his presence at all. “Mr. Weiss, for what it’s worth, I just want to say I’m sorry, about your son. I hope he’ll get better soon.” There was a long pause. The Chief Inspector went about his work as if he was never in the room. “Well, thanks for taking good care of Kevin, I appreciate it. Bye.” Nick was another step away to leaving his office when the Chief Inspector spoke. “My son is paralyzed from the neck down Mr. Carter, his life will never be the same again if he wakes up. So your sorry worth shit as far as I’m concerned. If you really wanna do me a favor, next time we call your friend over, don’t tag along.” Kevin was behind the wheel, something Nick was grateful for. He didn’t think he could drive straight after that. “For someone who got peanut butter jelly sandwich, you sure look sad.” Kevin said. Nick buckled up and rolled the window down. He needed fresh air. “How did you describe the guy Kev? I thought you never really saw him.” “We’ll talk about that when I drop you back home ok?” “Kevin, AJ asked me out for dinner tonight.” Kevin laughed as he pulled out of the driveway. “You make it sound like he asked you out for a date.” “Dude, you have to stop reading those slash fanfics.” Nick groaned. “I don’t.” Kevin laughed. “And no worries, I intend to go back home tonight, so you can still hear my little story and make it in time for dinner with AJ.” “Cool. I hate to cancel on him, I won’t hear the end of it tomorrow.”

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