Nick was released from the hospital a few days later. The doctors had wanted him to stay longer to rest, but Dave threw a fit and got Jane’s approval. Once Nick’s mother had called in a direct order, there was not much anyone could do. Nick was whisked away to go back and resume the tour, reduced to sitting in a wheelchair on stage during performances. He hated sitting there while the others moved and danced along, hated sitting on stage looking dumb. Nick was miserable. Kevin had grown colder towards him every single day and he wondered if he could really trust any of them anymore.
“He wants to quit.” AJ said as he and Alexis watched Nick wheel himself to the bathroom with a sad expression on his face.
“Quit? Why would he want to leave….that’s what these idiots want, they want to isolate him. If Nick goes home it will make it easier for them to hurt him again.” Alexis whispered in surprise. Her and AJ had grown closer since he rescued her from the clone, but part of her still wondered about the night he had attacked her. Why did he turn so suddenly? She guessed maybe the music had to do with it, but the disc had vanished.
That night on the bus Nick was distant, looking out the window and deep in thought.
“Nick? What’s wrong?” Alexis asked. She knew he had been miserable all day, even during the show he hadn’t been himself. The look of fear had been in his eyes, like he was waiting to be attacked out in the open again.
“I can’t do this anymore.” he whispered softly, taking her hand. Alexis closed the curtain so they’d have privacy.
“You can’t just quit. That’s what they want. I think if you sleep on it maybe things will feel different for you.” she said.
“My mind is made up. I can’t just sit there like an idiot anymore while that guy is out there waiting to take my life. I want to go home. Being on the road isn’t helping me.”
“Quitting isn’t the answer, Nick. Talk to Dave, see if they can cancel the last few shows.” Alexis suggested. He wiped at his eyes and shook his head slowly.
“He wants me dead. If I’m home it will be harder to keep tabs on me. I think I need to do my own thing for a while.” Nick reasoned. Alexis didn’t like this idea. Deep down, she knew he was wrong.
“No, Nick. Absolutely not, it is out of the question.”
“Dave, I can’t do the physical therapy between shows. I need to be home.” Nick begged, wheeling in his direction. Dave strode over to him, his face an inch from Nick’s as his hands gripped the arms of the wheelchair.
“Listen here, Carter. Your ass belongs to me, understand? We have a show to put on and we’ve already cancelled too many dates for your stupidity that night. I am not canceling any more of them.” he said, his eyes boring into Nick’s. Nick felt his heart racing.
“Dave, it wasn’t my fault. I was attacked.” he whimpered.
“There were no witnesses to prove otherwise. Get back to rehearsal, NOW.” Dave boomed. Nick wheeled himself towards the door before looking back.
“I don’t know what you did to Kevin, but it isn’t gonna happen to me. You’re not winning this one.” he said.
“GET OUT!” Dave screamed, throwing a book. Nick ducked and quickly left the room, leaving the manager in a rage.
“The boy is onto us.” he whispered. Kevin appeared next to him, coming through a door in the wall.
“What will we do, Dave? He knows something. He’s been asking a lot of questions.” he said.
“I think we need to make a new plan. He is already starting to doubt the others, why not use this to our advantage?” Dave suggested. He knew for a fact Nick’s reasoning to quit was due to a lack of trust in his bandmates. He chuckled at the thought, it was almost too easy.
“This will take some time to prepare but I think it will be a good plan. They still haven’t figured out what happened to me.” Kevin said, sitting down in front of Dave as he laughed.
“You’ve played your part well.”
“They have no idea.” Kevin smirked.
The tour continued and Nick struggled but he finally was able to walk after being in the wheelchair for about two or three weeks. At the last show of the tour, Nick felt he was stable enough on his legs to walk out and address the audience one final time.
“You sure you’re ready?” Alexis asked, holding his hand as they waited backstage. He was glad to have her there, he didn’t think he was emotionally strong enough to continue after the night of his attack. He had grown to love her, it wouldn’t be the same without her nearby. Nick had even considered asking her to move in after tour was over but didn’t want to put her in any danger. He knew something else was coming…he knew he wasn’t safe yet.
The show began and Nick was led onto the stage by Brian, holding onto his friend for support. The fans cheered loudly as he wobbled out onto the stage for the first time since his accident, a smile across his face as he watched them wave their banners and scream with delight.
“Before we begin the show….I want to thank everyone for the support you’ve shown me the last few weeks while I recuperated. Thank you so much for the cards, the letters….it really means a lot to me.” Nick said, smiling. As he stood there, his legs hurt but he didn’t care. He wanted to prove he wasn’t weak. The show went well and the tour was now over, everyone prepared to go their seperate ways the next day.
“Are you going to be okay by yourself, Nick? I don’t want to leave you…” Alexis said as he saw her off at the airport. He was still in the wheelchair for now but he could walk a little bit.
“I’m gonna be fine. I will stay in touch, okay?” Nick said. Alexis bent down to kiss him.
“You better or I’m gonna kick your ass.” she laughed.
“I will. Have a good flight baby.”
Alexis left and Brian walked with Nick through the terminal…Nick feeling uneasy. He wasn’t sure if it was the flight to LA coming up or Alexis leaving….but he felt uneasy and wished it would go away.