To be honest, Kevin didn’t want to spend the night alone. The first thing he did when he came back home was to turn on all the lights in the house, made sure everything was locked and headed straight for a quick shower. He feared if he put that off any longer, he might not find the courage to take a shower at all. He made a quick call to his wife who was on location filming yet another independent movie in Kentucky. This time around, he wasn’t as worried when his wife was away in another city. She was staying with the Richardsons and keeping his mother company at the same time. Fortunately for him, Kristin was too tired to notice any strain in his voice. It was a quick, he knew he would break down if he had made it any longer than it was. Still not ready to sleep the rest of the night away, he headed to the kitchen and made himself a cup of coffee. The house was too silent for his liking so he made his way to the living room, turned on the television to some random channel and took a sip of his drink. The news was on. Great, drink coffee, that will put you to sleep, Kevin thought, disgusted. He needed to get a grip on himself, being this scared was entirely alien for him. Nick had been very understanding, much to Kevin’s surprise. Sometimes, he really did feel that he was underestimating the young man. It took a lot to finally come to terms with the fact that Nick didn’t need to be told what he should or should not do. There was no need to explain in detail why things should be done a certain way or in this case, why, he couldn’t tell the others about his problem. He had even played with the thought of sleeping over at his house again for the night, since they had another rehearsal the next day but that was cancelled when he found out Nick was going out for dinner with AJ. To openly say that he could stay there and look after the house while he was out of dinner doesn’t seem like something he’d do. Nick would have seen right through him. The meeting with the sketch artist was a whole new experience for him too. For one, Andy, the sketch artist, looked no older than Nick. In fact, they had the same physique, only that Andy had a shock of black jet hair that was even longer than Nick’s. His eyes were green, Kevin remembered that because he had stared at the young man for the longest time when he finally showed him what he had sketched. The first thing Kevin noticed when he entered Andy Myers’ room was the orange painted walls. It was mind boggling to see a room so bright exists in a police headquarters. There were colorful paintings mounted on the walls, some looked to be the works of professionals while others could be the jobs of five year old kids. He noticed the set of letter blocks lying on a rainbow and clouds carpet. A mount of toys stuffed in a wheeled box was pushed to the side. The room seemed to be divided into many small private areas. There was a pair of lush, comfortable looking beige single couch in the middle of the room, facing each other, a coffee table separating them in the middle. At another corner, a coloring table with a much bigger chair facing each other. But the one that caught his attention was the classic high noon tea chairs along with the classic looking table, pushed to a corner furthest in the room and facing the window. Andy appeared behind the beige couch, shocking Kevin in the process, with two pencils stuck behind his ear and a sketchbook in his hand. “Hi, sorry, dropped my eraser.” Andy smiled before extending his hand to Kevin. “Andy Myers.” Kevin smiled and accepted the handshake. “Ke-” “Kevin Richardson, I know.” Andy cut in. “My cousin’s a fan, oh, and I am contractually bound to keep this on the dl, so don’t worry.” Kevin exhaled rather loudly than he had expected. “Thanks, I don’t want words to go out about this.” “No problem,” Andy replied. “I also want to say it’s an honor to meet you, despite the circumstance and all…you’re my first celebrity encounter.” Kevin smiled, trying to hold his laugh in. This kid is a ball of energy. “Well then, thank you for not screaming.” Kevin joked. “And you’re funny, this should be a breeze.” Andy said. “I’m not quite sure about that Mr. Myers-” “Andy, please, call me Andy.” “Okay, Andy, I’m not sure if I’ll be a big help at all. It was dark and he came out of nowhere. Next thing I know, he had backed me up against my car, hit me in the eye and everywhere else and ran away with my wallet.” “It’s ok Kevin, don’t worry about that.” Andy said. “Lets take a sit first, I can’t draw when I’m standing, not very good at balance at all. Lets see, how about that spot over there?” It was the spot that had Kevin’s attention. “Sure, I like that one.” Once seated, Andy placed the sketchbook on his lap and started sketching. Kevin tried peeking but couldn’t see anything from where he was. “So, what car do you drive Kevin?” “Well, I was driving my Escalade when it happened.” “What were you doing there that night?” “Had my dinner and then decided to stop by the ATM machine to draw some cash.” “Ah…so anyway, did you know that the word ‘crap’ is now included in the Webster dictionary? I didn’t even know it wasn’t a word before.” Andy said, stealing a glance up at Kevin, smiled, and went back to his sketching. “Oh? I didn’t know that.” Kevin replied, still unsure if this was supposed to happen. Shouldn’t he be asking about how the mugger looks like? “Yeah, next thing you know, they’ll add ‘dawg’ in it too.” “Ah, I used that word too often myself.” “By the way, congrats on the new album. I know it’s sucky something like this happened when you’re supposed to be all hyped about the album but I’m sure this will go away soon enough.” Andy said. “Thanks. I really hope I can get this out of the way fast.” Kevin replied. “Not to sound rude or anything Andy, but shouldn’t you ask me about how this guy looks?” “Ok well, what does he looks like?” Kevin pondered on it for a while. That was the problem, Kevin couldn’t remember the face even if his life depended on it. Everything just happened so fast. “I don’t think I can give you anything specific Andy…everything just-” “Happens so fast?” “Right.” “Did you come here alone Kevin?” “No…with my brother, Nick.” “As in Nick Carter?” “Yeah well, he’s not my brother as in a Richardson, but he might as well be.” “I can’t believe we have Nick Carter in this place. He’s lucky Marsha is on patrol right now.” “Why is that?” “She’s a huge fan. Always come in belting out some random songs of yours. She’s crazy over Nick.” “Ah, that would have been the highlight of his day though.” Kevin joked. “This is much easier don’t you think? Talking about what happened doesn’t help at all.” Andy said. “It is, but I’m not sure how this is going to help though.” Andy looked over and smiled. “It does, a lot…all I have to do is tap in the right places.” Kevin wasn’t sure if he understood what that meant, but he was too confused to even try. “There ya go…that’s your mugger.” Kevin blinked the thoughts away, purposely drinking the hot coffee in a hurry so that the burn on his tongue could wake him up to what was going on now. News nowadays has nothing uplifting to report. It had been awhile now and they were still going on about the latest uproar in Iraq. They were interviewing a US soldier stationed there, he couldn’t be any older than 27. That felt wrong in so many ways. It also put things in perspective for him. Why was he so afraid when this soldier is facing with something as fearsome as war? The worst was finally over for him, all he had to do was identify the man in a line up and that should be a breeze, especially after seeing the portrait of the man looking back at him. The missing puzzles that were gone before had now come rushing back to him. Everything was clear, it all made sense. Why had he blocked those memories before, he had no idea. “It’s the fear,” Andy had explained. “We humans in general, tend to instantly block out the things we don’t want to see in hope to find out that it didn’t really happen, maybe it was just something that our heads were messing with us. But 90% of the time, those things are real, your fear is real.” “But it still doesn’t explain how you could sketch this from nothing!” Kevin exclaimed, still amazed by the picture. Within that few minutes with Kevin, Andy had managed to draw the dark parking lot, his car, a man in jeans and hooded sweater pinning him against the car. A small picture right below it, was a front view sketch of a man, he looked as if he was growling, his set of eyes staring right back at him. That was the face of the man who had looked him in the eyes as he grabbed for his shirt and demanded Kevin for his wallet. “Are you psychic?” Andy laughed. “No, I’m not, that’d be cool though.” “Then how?” “Years mastering the art of profiling, a bit of psychiatrist, human behavior, the works…I learnt how to tap into someone’s mind and from what they said, I could figure out a face or a scene.” “How old are you?” Andy laughed again. “I’m 26 Kevin, but I’ve been in this line for 6 years now.” Must be a gifted kid, Kevin thought. “I’m still not sure if I’m following you though Andy.” “That’s okay, most people don’t. I’m not the only sketcher out there who can do this, so I wasn’t born with a rare gift or whatever, although that’d help in my reputation department back in College. You see, when a witness is overcome by fear, they tend to forget what they really saw. And when someone asked them, are they wearing a blue cap? Now, in reality, the person might not even be wearing a cap but the ‘image’ was offered to them and they see it in their mind and could easily said yes they do. It messed a lot of things up, you’d be surprise to know that 80% of the time, witness’ eye accounts are wrong.” Kevin swallowed everything in. This was definitely something new to him too. “And talking to me about random stuff actually helps?” “Yes, a lot. There’s a lot more than what the eyes capture. For instance, you’re looking at me right now, your attention is to me, we’re too deep in conversation that you might not even realize there’s someone else in this room. Your eyes capture this movement from the corner of your eyes but you weren’t aware of them. What I do Kevin, is paint the bigger picture. Well, sketch the bigger picture. It’s hard to explain really, I don’t expect you to understand everything just enough to let you know, that it can be done.” “No, I don’t think I can understand that even if I want to. But I trust that it works, cause I remember him now.” Kevin said, pointing to the picture. “You’re a great witness to work with you know that? I could easily figure out the more outstanding features of this guy just by shaking your hand and introducing myself.” Andy complimented. “In fact, I need to add a bit more to that drawing.” Kevin passed the sketchbook back to the young man and stared out the window. How bizarre was this? There was a bird dropping right outside the widow sill. “So what did you have for dinner that night?” “Pasta…mushroom pasta in creamy white sauce. Delicious meal.” “I bet it’d go down very well with a glass of champagne.” “It does, but I was driving, so I had a glass of water.” “That’s nice too. I’d go with Coke though, I’m crazy for that drink.” Kevin smiled, nodding. “Okay lets see…added some trees, a bit of the supermarket from the side.” The background was lightly sketched in pencil, to bring out the dark effect of the night. Some areas looked darker than the others but nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. “I see more chatting gives you some trees, a quarter of a supermarket and some very good shading.” Kevin joked. Andy laughed. “Sometimes that’s just what it do…make the picture more real.” Kevin got out of Andy Myers’ office thinking Nick would never believe what had just happened. He couldn’t wait to see the bewilderment in his brother’s face. Priceless, he bet. Kevin got pulled back to the present by the ringing of his cell phone. The news was over, replaced now by some Colgate commercial. He still couldn’t figure out how a woman in bikini has anything to do with how effective a toothpaste works. It was Nick on the line. “Oh great you’re not asleep yet.” Kevin stole a glance at the clock hanging at the wall above the television. “It’s only nine thirty Nick.” “Well, I can never tell these days, your old body might want to retire early ya know?” “Aww too bad for you then bro, this old body has a lot more gas to outrun you any time.” Nick laughed. “I had a great time at dinner with AJ.” “Hey what you do on your dates out is none of my business bro.” “Ha ha, not funny!” “So no troubles then?” Kevin asked. He couldn’t help it, when it come to those two, he had to ask, no matter how much he knew they could take care of themselves. It’s not them he didn’t trust, it’s the people around them. “Nope. A few paparazzi as always, but they weren’t being annoying so half the time I didn’t even remember they were there. I think you’ll see pictures of two Backstreet Boys smoking though.” “That’s okay I guess. So long you got that tummy filled.” “I’m actually quite relieved.” “About?” “I don’t have to hide about my smoking anymore. I mean, I know it’s not a good habit and yes, I’m trying to cut down on those, but it’s nice to not bother you know? I’m a smoker and unless your name is Kevin and you have a problem with me, you can take it to someone who cares.” “That’s AJ talk right there.” “Ugh, I know, he’s rubbing off on me, the dick.” “I think it’s kinda cute.” “Shut up.” “It is cute.” Kevin laughed. “Anyhoo, I called cause I was wondering if you could come pick me up tomorrow for rehearsal.” “You do realize you can still drive right?” “I know, I just don’t feel like going alone. And I figured if you’re driving, I could catch some Zs on our way there.” “The little one is getting smarter these days.” “Yeah, better watch that butt of yours grandpa.” Kevin sighed. There was no winning with this guy. “Goodbye Nick.” “Night night Kevin.” Back to drinking his final gulp of coffee, the Colgate commercial just ended. A rerun of Friends was about to air. Kevin still had his thoughts on Nick. It brought him back to the conversation they had back in his house. Kevin had told him about Andy Myers and what he could do by just talking with him about random stuff. To Kevin’s surprise, Nick showed no signs of bewilderment at all. In fact, he was excited. “Wow, I saw that on Oprah once dawg, it was so cool! Totally blew me away! This lady could do pretty much what Andy Myers did for you. She helped this couple to find their missing daughter who was kidnapped by some psycho. Damn Kevin, that must have been so awesome for you!” Two things came to Kevin then. First, Nick knew of such things? And second, he watched Oprah? Kevin switched off the television when he found himself yawning. The anxieties now draining away, he finally acknowledged how tired he was. He decided to head straight for his room. An early night could do some good after all.