“There’s someone in the house…” AJ whispered frantically. Brian shut the lights off and grabbed AJ as they halfway dove into the open walk in closet nearby. He closed the door behind them as the footsteps came up the stairway and down the hall from the room.
“Hello?” a voice said…AJ opened his mouth but thought better of speaking.
“Be quiet…” Brian whispered. Whoever this was, he did not want to be discovered by them…good or bad.
“Is someone in here?” the voice asked…it belonged to a girl. She was right outside the closet door…Brian and AJ tried to be as quiet as possible.
“I swear I saw a light up here.”
“ACHOO!!” the closet door opened and they saw a girl standing there. She giggled and turned on the lights….the two men fell out in a heap, AJ was cursing and Brian wiped at his nose.
“Goddamn you, Brian!” AJ yelled angrily.
“Sorry, my allergies.” Brian apologized. The girl laughed again and they noticed her looking at them. AJ backed away from her.
“Look…if you’re gonna kill us…do it quick.” he mumbled.
“AJ, its not her.” Brian said as he shook his head.
“I’m Kristen……what are you doing here? Or did Valerie collect you too?” Kristen asked. At the mention of Valerie’s name, Brian smiled.
“You know Valerie Harrington? I hope this is the same one you mean.” he said.
“I’m not a snitch…” Kristen started, but AJ’s anger got the better of him.
“Listen, our friend might be dying…I don’t give a crap what you are, tell us what you know.” he snapped. Brian glared at him and Kristen looked away.
“You know something, don’t you…” Brian said, noticing her expression. He was hoping they could get some clue as to where Nick was. Nick didn’t have much time….Brian hoped he was okay but something inside said he wasn’t, and it worried him.
“Valerie loves Nick. I’m sure you know that by now….” Kristen said, waving her hand at the posters. Nick’s face grinned at them from the walls.
“She told him she loved him at our meet and greet. Did she tell you about it?” Brian asked. Kristen nodded.
“She said he told her he loved her….and that she was meant to be with him. Valerie doesn’t deal well with people who disagree or reject her. She and I had a fight when I saw her last.” she continued, remembering when she had her sleep over.
“What happened? Did you tell her she’s psycho?” AJ said.
“Jay…come on.” Brian scolded him.
“Well she is,” AJ shrugged. Brian rolled his eyes, he loved AJ….but sometimes he was just tactless.
“I agree with him, actually. Valerie is bipolar….she is a really nice person but say the wrong thing to her and she flips. I told her she should stop obsessing about Nick.” Kristen confessed.
“How obsessed was she?” Brian asked, sitting down on the bed next to her.
“She talked about him constantly…what he wrote on twitter…his songs…his website…his music…his relationships…how she was going to meet him and they would end up married like those stories she reads online.”
“Fanfiction,” AJ said suddenly. It was making some sense but they had known all of this already, just not to this degree.
“She really hated Lauren. She told me this ridiculous plan of how she was gonna get them broken up,” Kristen laughed.
“Not so funny now that Lauren’s dead.” AJ said, glaring at her.
“I liked Lauren. Val didn’t. The last I talked to her she was moving to Tampa by Nick’s house and had dyed her hair to match his.” Kristen offered.
“She moved to Tampa?” Brian asked, realization hitting him.
“I don’t know if she did or not. She said she had a new boyfriend too,” Kristen told them.
“Dude….this proves Lucy is Valerie.” AJ said, grinning.
“Lucy? Who is Lucy?” Kristen asked, her eyes narrowed.
“Valerie changed her name to Lucy and tricked Nick to go out with her. We have to find him.” Brian explained. Kristen seemed somewhat surprised to hear this information.
“I really hope you find him….knowing her, she is putting him through hell by now. I know Nick won’t give in.” Kristen said once they all parted.
“Shit….this didn’t help much….we aren’t any closer to finding him now than when we got here, Brian!” AJ complained when they got into the car.
“You’re wrong about that, Jay. There’s something we overlooked.” Brian said. He looked at AJ and grinned, before pulling out of the driveway and leaving Valerie’s house…hopefully on the right trail.