Nick shuffled into his house around 2 in the morning feeling drained…..well drunk. He was sleepy after being out with his friends for the night. Nick had been off for a month since the tour ended and was enjoying himself in LA….staying out late every night that week partying. He was out of the wheelchair and walking again. Gone were the pressures of being a Backstreet Boy….gone was the feeling of someone out to kill him.
He turned out the light and put his head down, throbbing from an impending hangover. He’d been out drinking even though he was underage, but his friend Bean had bought it for him and he couldn’t say no. Nick had almost fallen asleep when he heard his phone ringing, groaning into his pillow.
“What the hell is he calling me for?” he mumbled drunkenly. He didn’t even lift his head, he simply pressed his phone to his ear.
“Nick, we have a meeting tomorrow at seven. Your fat ass better be there on time, Dave wants us to discuss the next album. Make sure you show up.” Kevin growled.
“Why so early in the morning? Didn’t we just get off tour?” Nick asked.
“I don’t give a shit how late you were out with Bean. All I care is that you get yourself up for this meeting.”
“All right, all right. Next time call at a decent hour, you prick.” Nick snapped back.
“Don’t talk to me like that. I’ve been trying to reach you all day.”
“My phone was off. I was out with Bean.”
“I don’t give a damn. Make sure you’re there bright and early….and sober.” Kevin said before hanging up on him. Nick tossed the phone on his night stand and went back to sleep, his head throbbing.
He woke up again at six, cursing himself as he stubbed his toe getting out of bed. Nick hobbled around, dressing himself and grabbing a doughnut before heading out of the house to the car. Granted it wasn’t the healthiest choice but Nick didn’t have time to be picky. He drove down the freeway, which was clear of heavy traffic to his surprise. The meeting was across town, in downtown LA.
“I’m making good time.” he said happily to himself, but just as the words left his mouth, the back tire on his car blew out…..almost making him crash head on into the concrete barrier. Nick regained control of the car and managed to pull over to inspect the damage, thinking he was lucky he didn’t get killed.
“Goddamn it.” Nick mumbled, noticing both back tires were flat, as if someone had slashed them. Ignoring this, he picked up his phone and decided to call Kevin.
“Excuse me, I need to take this.”
Kevin stepped out of the boardroom and answered the phone, knowing Nick was not going to make the meeting. Everything had been planned carefully to make sure nothing would go wrong.
“Kev, I’m really sorry but I am stuck on the freeway with two flats. I’m not gonna make it to the meeting. Can I still meet you guys for breakfast at the diner after?” Nick asked.
“Sure, Nick. No problem….I’ll fill you in later kiddo.” Kevin smiled as Howie approached him. He hung up and noticed a look of concern on his face.
“What the hell do you want?”
“Um, Kevin….I thought this meeting was mandatory. Why is it ok for Nick to miss it?” Howie asked. Kevin laughed and turned him towards the door, Howie was surprised to see Nick siitting at the table talking to Brian, holding a cup of coffee and waving.
“Nick’s not missing anything, he’s right here. Mind your own business for once.” Kevin snapped, brushing past him. Howie’s eyes narrowed…something didn’t feel right. He quickly took out his phone and texted Nick to ask if he was still coming. Dave walked into the room, so he put the phone away and looked as if he were paying attention.
“Okay, now that everyone is here….we have a lot of things to go over concerning the album and recording, some new promo stuff to discuss. Before we get into all of that, we have a quick video to show you guys.” Dave said, as a projection screen dropped down behind him. As it began to play, Howie felt his phone vibrate in his pocket.
I told Kev I wasn’t gonna be there. I will see you after. – Kaos
Howie looked up from his phone and saw the others staring at the screen, blank expressions on their faces. Something was definitely wrong. Brian and AJ looked as if they were in a trance….
After the meeting, the five of them went to a diner nearby to have some breakfast together. As he sipped at his tea, Howie eyed Nick….he was acting different, not as talkative…..if he did say anything he would only speak to Kevin. He kept glancing at the window as well.
“Howie, what’s wrong with you? You seem out of it this morning.” Kevin commented. He stole a glance with Nick, who nodded.
“I gotta use the bathroom.” he said before getting up.
“I’m all right. I thought Nick wasn’t gonna make the meeting today.” Howie replied, watching Nick walk away.
“I told you, he was playing a prank. He was there, wasn’t he? Stop being paranoid.” Kevin said. Moments later, Nick walked up to him, out of breath as he sat down at the table.
“Sorry I’m so late, guys. I got stuck on the freeway with two flats, can you believe it?” he laughed. When nobody laughed he looked around the table, the guys were staring.
“Um….Nick, you were just here. How could you have gotten a flat tire?” Brian asked suddenly.
“I missed the meeting, don’t you remember?” Nick replied. He picked up the menu and ordered a coffee when the waitress came by. He didn’t notice the curious stare she gave him. “You were there the whole time. Or are you too hungover from last night? Maybe you should stop drinking.” Kevin snapped from across the table. Nick put the menu down, feeling his heart race. As he looked at Kevin….something about his eyes didn’t seem right.
“I wasn’t there. Howie, didn’t you get my text?” he asked. Howie looked at Nick and shrugged. He knew something was amiss but didn’t want to cause a commotion.
“Fuck this, I’m out of here. I wasn’t there. If you don’t want to tell me what it was about, okay- but don’t lie to me.” Nick snapped as he got back up and stormed off in a huff. Brian looked at the others, shrugging.
“What the hell just happened?” he wondered.
“Nick’s just being Nick. Dramatic.” Kevin said. As Howie watched Nick walk across the parking lot, he couldn’t help but wonder that things were about to get interesting for them.
The only question was, could he figure it out?