“I can’t believe you dragged me out here.” Kevin said as he and Brian walked to the elevator.
“We are all worried about him, cuz. He’s been acting so…well…” Brian stated, trailing off.
“I am telling you, if he starts a fight with me I am going right back to Kentucky. I can’t deal with him…you know my reasons why-”
“I know, Kevin. I know, but trust me he has been begging to see you. It’s like he’s a kid…he doesn’t remember Marcus…he doesn’t know Jenn or Leighanne or Baylee…I had to tell them to stay home. If Baylee came and Nick didn’t remember him, he’d be heartbroken.” Brian explained. They walked to Nick’s room where they found him sitting on the floor in his underwear, fully engrossed in a video game.
“Having fun, Nicky?” Brian asked.
“Yeah, this Wii thing is hard.” Nick replied, standing up. His eyes went wide as they fell upon Kevin standing there. He looked almost as Nick remembered him…except for some gray hair and wrinkles near the corners of his green eyes.
“Kevin?” he said tentatively, not moving.
“It’s me.” Kevin replied with a smile. Nick walked closer and squinted at him.
“You got old.” he said softly. Kevin glared at Brian, who gave him a shrug.
“How are you doing, kiddo?”
“But I’m not-” Nick started, then fell silent, looking down at his bare feet.
“I know you’re not a kid, Nicky. Just an expression. Want to go out and have a talk for a bit?” Kevin offered with a half smile. Nick’s face lit up….he looked happy…happier than Brian had seen him in days.
“I’d love that!!!” Nick said, running to change.
“I told you he wanted to see you.” Brian grinned as Kevin shook his head.
“Well he isn’t throwing punches like last time, so it’s a good sign.” Kevin laughed. Nick came back out wearing jeans and a white tank top, smiling from ear to ear.
“Ready? I don’t have my car so you can drive, right?” Kevin said, patting Nick’s back. Nick’s face went pale…he had not driven before, but he was sure he could wing it.
“Sure…no problem.” he said as he followed Kevin out of the room.
“Nick…are you gonna start it? The car doesn’t move itself, you know.” Kevin snapped once they were inside of the blue sports car Nick owned. Nick looked nervously at the wheel and his heart was racing.
“Well, here goes nothing.” he whispered as he turned on the ignition. Driving seemed easy…they went down the road and Nick seemed calm. He was feeling pretty confident in his skill even though in reality he had never been behind the wheel of a car.
“This isn’t so bad.” Nick said, smiling.
“You act like you’ve never driven before. So how is everything? I know it has been a while.” Kevin asked. Nick sighed…he wanted so badly to tell him what happened, but he knew Kevin would never believe him.
“Everything is so-” Nick began, but his eyes went wide.
“Nick!!!!” Kevin screamed as a little girl ran into the middle of the street, chasing a puppy.
Nick swerved to miss the girl and promptly lost control of the car. Kevin held onto the side of the car as Nick swerved in and out of traffic, crossing the street. The car spun around and finally crashed head on into a storefront, glass flying everywhere. Nick was screaming as the windshield smashed in on top of them.
“Oh my God….Nick…are you okay?” Kevin asked when the airbags deflated. Nick didn’t answer…he sat in the driver’s seat, his body shaking. Kevin managed to get out of the dented car door and rush to Nick’s side.
“Nick???” Kevin said, before Nick let out a strangled whimper, his bottom lip moving slightly.
“I BROKE THE CAR!!!” he wailed, latching onto him. Kevin watched Nick burst into full on heaving sobs….like a little boy.
“Nicky, it’s fine. You aren’t hurt. The building has insurance.” he said, rubbing Nick’s back as he talked.
“I am in so much trouble…” Nick whispered. Kevin managed to bring Nick back to the hotel and Brian’s eyes widened at the two of them covered in cuts and scrapes.
“What happened?” he demanded after Nick had gotten out of earshot.
“He didn’t remember how to drive apparently. Brian, I can’t deal with him….he’s like…he’s like…”
“….a kid?” Brian finished.
“I’m out of here.” Kevin snapped. He headed for the door, but Brian grabbed his arm.
“Please…I think you are what he needs to be himself again.” he begged. Kevin stood there with his hand on the doorknob, thinking.
“I give him a week. One week. Then I am on the first flight to kentucky.” he said darkly.
“If you cure him, then what?” Brian asked.
“Then I come back to the group.”