Nick lay sleeping in the hotel room, wishing he didn’t have to get out of bed. It was the hottest day in July and the hotel’s air conditioning was broken. Nick was tired and sweaty…..laying in the bed with a spring from the mattress poking his back.
“We are famous. Why can’t we book a decent hotel?” he said almost out loud as he finally got up. He brushed his damp blonde hair out of his face and scratched his ass as he walked to the balcony. The view wasn’t very pleasant….normally the swimming pool below would look inviting, but the hotel had closed it due to cleaning.
A few months had passed since his kidnapping, and Nick still wasn’t feeling himself. He bore a scar on his arm…..from what, he didn’t know…but it was there. Sometimes images flashed to him in his dreams at night, images of a man in a lab coat…..laughing at him in the darkness. There was a lot about the whole thing Nick didn’t understand or even remember. He had tried asking the guys about it, only to get told he must have been dreaming and not to worry. Nick took a shower and emerged feeling somewhat relieved, but sticky. He debated ordering room service for breakfast but knew Kevin would chastise him for it.
There was something about Kevin that Nick couldn’t put his finger on….something sinister, maybe even evil. He was acting so cold to him these days, as if he were a nasty bug that needed to be exterminated. A slip of paper appeared under the door and Nick bent down to pick it up.
“So much for a day off.” he sighed. The itinerary was full of interviews and a TV appearance in New York. As he slipped on his jeans he smiled, hearing the familiar ringtone on his phone.
“Hi, baby.” he said with a big grin. Alexis had been in his life for a few months now. She was as good as his girlfriend, but due to his schedule they had not made it official. They saw each other occasionally, when Nick was in town. Alexis came from New Jersey and was friends with Amber, who Nick and Brian still kept in touch with.
Nick looked up as he heard the knock on the door and said goodbye to Alexis before hanging up the phone and answering the door. Brian stood there looking semi dressed up.
“You’re nowhere near ready…are you?” he observed, seeing Nick in jeans and no shirt.
“I was on the phone with Alexis and didn’t realize what time it was.”
“You seem to be doing that a lot lately. Get dressed, we have to leave for the city to do some interviews and stuff.” Brian said. He sipped from his coffee cup and noticed Nick had never unpacked his clothes from the suitcase sprawled on the floor. Everything was wrinkled. Nick took out a shirt and sniffed it before putting it on.
“That’s full of wrinkles. Don’t you have anything nice to wear?” Brian admonished. Nick rolled his eyes and pulled the shirt over his head.
“Are you my mother now?” he snapped moodily, trying to shut the suitcase but failing.
“Why didn’t you unpack? No wonder your clothes are like that….”
“I figured we weren’t gonna be here that long, so why bother?” Nick sighed. He moved to slip on his sneakers, a pair of white Nikes.
“For your information…we will be here until Thursday. Now hurry up, the guys are waiting and we are already late because of you.” Brian told him in an annoyed tone. The two of them left the hotel room, their steps in sync with one another but Brian limping slightly.
“Your leg still bothering you?” Nick asked.
“A bit…some days it hurts and others it doesn’t bother me much. How about you….had any more nightmares?” Brian said, pressing the button for the elevator.
“I see things sometimes…..and this scar on my arm….I don’t remember anything. I wish I could explain it.” Nick sighed. The elevator dinged and they stepped in, the door closing behind them.
“Maybe you should talk to Kevin about it.” Brian suggested. Nick shook his head, his hair falling in his face.
“No way. He would freak on me….and you know he’s been ragging on me lately.” he said. Privately he wondered what had happened to Kevin….why he was acting so strangely, as if he was hiding something.
“Nick, you can’t be hiding things all the time. It isn’t good for you.” Brian said.
“You sure nag like Kevin today. Did they put Essence of Richardson in your coffee this morning?” Nick scoffed. The elevator stopped and the door opened, the two of them walking down the hallway towards the hotel lobby. Brian turned to him, a worried expression on his face.
“I don’t sound that much like him, do I?”
Nick laughed and went to meet the others.
Kevin watched his cousin and Nick bounding up to them….Nick seemed desperate not to catch his eye. He knew Nick didn’t remember anything about his kidnapping….but the next phase of the plan was about to begin, and they couldn’t afford mistakes this time. He had participated in the experiment as well and knew the consequences of his failure.
This Nick Carter would not live to see the end of the tour.