“I don’t know about this.” Nick said, walking Alexis to AJ’s room at the next hotel stop. AJ brushed past them with his earphones in, listening to his CD player and humming.
“It will be fine. I think we will get along well, Nick.” she said brightly, picking up her duffel bag and adjusting it over her shoulder.
“That’s what I’m afraid of.” Nick mumbled. AJ seemed pleased to see Alexis, looking at her over the rim of his black sunglasses and smirking.
“Well, hello there. Nick told me about you….Alexis is it?” he said, his voice smooth. Nick made a huffing noise and Alexis nudged him hard in the chest, making him cough a bit.
“Just show me where to put my things.” Alexis replied, walking into AJ’s room. He closed the door behind them and smiled.
“I don’t like her being in that room with him.” Nick said, pacing the floor while Brian watched a basketball game on TV.
“Come on, guys! It isn’t hard to score a basket.”
“Bri, I’m being serious here. Something feels wrong.” Nick continued. He ran a hand through his hair and flopped down on his bed, sighing.
“How do you know this? Did you have a vision?” Brian asked, watching with concern.
“No….I just got this feeling they put her there for a reason. Why else would she room with AJ? Dave is up to something.” Nick said. He grew more and more worried every minute that AJ and Alexis were alone, several times during the basketball game he got up, walked to the door and changed his mind as he reached for the handle.
“I’m sure she is fine. It’s AJ.” Brian said.
Nick didn’t feel any less worried.
“So you’re Amber’s friend? I didn’t know you knew her.” AJ said, swigging from a beer bottle resting on the night stand.
“Yeah, she introduced me to Nick and we hit it off. He’s a really good guy.” Alexis smiled. She wished she could be more than Nick’s good friend but knew he was too shy to make a move. “He sure is.” AJ agreed. It grew too quiet for Alexis’s liking so she looked for a radio or CD player.
“Want to hear a demo we are working on? You can’t tell anyone I’m playing this for you.” AJ said, holding up the disc Kevin had given him.
“Sure.” she smiled. What harm could come of it?
“I’m going over there.” Nick said, getting up for the tenth time an hour later. Brian shook his head and smiled but he also felt uneasy.
“How about I go and check things out for you? I’m sure she is fine. Go and lie down. I will be right back.” he said. Nick nodded and Brian left the room, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his jeans, whistling softly.
“Dunno what he’s so worried about.” he muttered, but once he got to the door he heard a scream. Brian pressed his ear to the door, he could hear a struggle inside of the room. The door was open slightly and Brian barged in.
“Help me!” Alexis cried, cowering near the corner in front of AJ, whose hand was on her neck. Brian blinked, trying to process what he was seeing. AJ would never hurt anyone, would he?
“AJ, STOP!!!” he roared. AJ turned around but his eyes were blank as if he were in a trance. He marched towards Brian, his hands outstretched.
“Brian!” Alexis yelled, sobbing. Thinking quickly, Brian swung his fist and punched AJ square in the face, knocking him out cold.
“Come on…..you’re coming with me.” Brian said, grabbing her hand and pulling her to the door, leaving AJ on the floor. Back in his and Nick’s room….Brian tried calming Alexis down, who was reeling from the events in AJ’s room.
“Are you okay?” Brian asked, getting her a glass of water. She was trembling as she drank it.
“It happened out of nowhere….we were talking and listening to music one moment, the next he had his hand on me.” she whispered. Nick was sleeping in the bed next to them, looking peaceful. Alexis resented it at that moment….he really had no idea what was going on.
“How can he sleep like that?” Alexis asked, smiling a little.
“I don’t know….he was worried about you. I think you being here is good for him. Kevin and Dave are up to something and I don’t like it. Nick needs protection.” Brian said. He let Alexis use his bed for the night and took to the floor. He knew it would hurt his back….but at least she would be safe.
Kevin stormed into Dave’s room, ready to put an end to things once and for all. He’d done a lot of thinking since Alexis left…he knew she was right. He didn’t want Nick or anyone else to get hurt anymore.
“What do you want, Richardson? Did you give him the disc?” Dave asked.
“I’m not playing this game anymore, Dave. I want out.” Kevin said. Dave sat up in the chair at his desk, raising an eyebrow.
“Where did you get off being all righteous all of a sudden? You’re the one who told me you wanted the kid gone, aren’t you?” he snapped. Kevin shook his head.
“Nick doesn’t deserve this, he’s getting better…..”
“You’re in too deep now, you can’t back out. Especially since Jane is in on this now. She is getting impatient, we all are. We are ready to carry on with the second phase of our plan.” Dave said. Kevin looked up to see a pair of blue eyes….eyes that were so bright they almost glowed in the dark. He stepped out of the shadow and Kevin gasped.
“What………what is he doing here?”
“I told you we were ready. He’s perfect, isn’t he? Looks identical….fitted with the boy’s memories and personality. He’s a huge improvement over the original article.”
Kevin shook his head in disbelief. He was hoping that the experiment would fail….but this was not the case. Things had just gotten real.
“I’m out of here. I won’t let you do this to him.” he stammered, moving towards the door.
“I don’t think so, Kev.”
It happened so quickly Kevin didn’t have time to react. He doubled over in pain when the punch landed, knocking the wind out of him.
“How…” Kevin wheezed just as he was kicked in the side. He was too strong to fight off, too fast….
“Say goodnight, Kevin.” Dave said, smiling as Kevin lost consciousness.