After spending a few hours at the hospital, Nick was given a taxi ride back to his house. He got home and flopped down on the bed, his head throbbing. How was he going to ever trust any of them again? What would happen now that he quit?
Nick knew he was working on some solo writing of his own, he could always try to make a career for himself, he knew he could do it….he had the talent and drive. The question remained, would he be left alone by the people who were after him….
“Hi, Brian…..nice to hear from you. What’s up?” Alexis asked on the other end. Brian had been thinking about Nick ever since the night before at the lake, Nick had gone through with his threat to quit the group.
“He what? Why in hell would he quit?” Alexis wondered in surprise.
“He….um….he thinks I tried to murder him.” Brian said meekly.
“That’s crazy, Bri. Nick knows you would never hurt him! Where is he now?”
“I don’t know. Could you try talking to him? He won’t answer any of our phone calls. He’ll listen to you.”
“Look. I’d love to come help talk to Nick, but I can’t afford a plane ticket. I’m in the middle of looking for a job now that I’m back home.”
Brian paced the floor, thinking.
“I will pay for you.” he offered.
“No, I can’t come. Absolutely not.” Alexis said. Brian smiled on the other end, knowing she’d change her mind.
“I can’t believe you talked me into this, Brian.”
“It’s just for a few days. We are going to see Nick after I drop your things off at my place. We are all staying in LA because we were supposed to be planning our next album, but Nick has other ideas.” Brian explained.
“I haven’t seen him in a while….but we’ve been talking on the phone. He was so upset when we spoke last. I wish we could get rid of that double of his.” Alexis said as she looked out the window. She and Brian drove to Nick’s home nestled in the Hollywood Hills, where a lot of celebrities were living. Alexis was surprised to see his house wasn’t as big as some of the others but still massive.
“Fuck you.” came the reply over the speaker box at the gate.
“We need to talk, Frack.” Brian sighed. Nick never answered back.
“Does he know we are coming?” Alexis asked, suddenly realizing they were surprising him. This was not going to end well.
Brian ignored her and punched in some numbers, the gate opened and they drove inside.
“How do you know his password? I’m sure he didn’t let you in on his own.” she laughed.
“Nick hasn’t been living here that long. He didn’t change it yet.”
The two of them walked up to the house and Brian rang the bell. When the door opened Nick punched him square in the face, bringing blood. Alexis had to wrestle him to get him off of Brian before they all finally ended up going inside.
“Nick why are you attacking him? We just came to talk to you!” she scolded. Brian sat across from Nick on the leather couch in his living room, holding an ice pack on his face. Nick was sitting on the other side, scowling like a child who got spanked and put in time out.
“I thought HE wanted to talk.” he snapped, not looking at Brian at all as he ignored Alexis’s question.
“I do, but you almost beat the crap out of me.” Brian replied.
“YOU TRIED TO KILL ME, ASSHOLE! What do you expect me to say?! You drowned me and left me for fucking dead! You were supposed to be my best friend!” Nick screamed….his face flushed.
“I wouldn’t hurt you on pur-”
“I’m not done talking yet. If you guys wanted me out of the group, you should have told me. I would have left. I’ve been hurt too many times by all of you to come back now….having secret meetings and lying to me-”
“We didn’t have a meeting without you, Nick. You were sitting right next to me at the damn table!” Brian hissed through his teeth.
“I called Kevin before the meeting and said I couldn’t make it. Someone had slashed my fucking tires. So you explain THAT to me.” Nick retorted. Alexis just watched silently, her eyes bobbing from each of them….afraid to say anything.
The doorbell rang and Nick went to answer it, walking towards the foyer.
“I got a bad feeling about this.” Alexis said, feeling a chill on her neck. Brian and her exchanged looks, wondering who could be at the door.
“Nick, I wouldn’t….”
“You telling me I can’t answer my own freaking door? How did they get past the gate anyways?” Nick asked, ignoring him. Brian shook his head in frustration, his nose throbbing. What if someone was still after Nick and had decoded the password for the gate?
“NICK!!” Alexis yelled, realizing it at the same time.
Nick moved towards the door again and opened it.
“What are you doing here, Howie?” he asked. Brian sighed with relief when their band mate walked in, carrying a small bag.
“I hoped you two were here together. I mostly came to talk to Nicky about the other day. I’ve found something out.” Howie said in a serious tone.
“Don’t call me Nicky.”
“You will be 100 years old and I will still call you that. So shut up and sit down.” Howie replied with a wink. Alexis laughed and took a seat by Nick.
“So what did you find out?” she asked. Brian resumed icing his bruised nose and Howie took out what was in the bag, two CD’s. One was marked with AJ, the other BSB.
“I found this at my house after AJ crashed one night there.”
“That’s the demo CD AJ played the night he attacked me.” Alexis gasped, remembering the night perfectly.
“Well….I had a friend of mine analyze it, he studies sound waves. And the same were found on this other CD. I saw it the day of the meeting….Dave played it with the video screen. Something went wrong.” Howie told them.
“Get to the point, D.” Nick said.
“Brian, you said you don’t remember driving into the lake, correct?”
“Right. I remember the radio being on….but after that it’s a blank.” Brian explained as Nick rolled his eyes.
“Did you have it on before that?” Alexis asked.
“No. It seemed to come on by itself, I thought Nick turned it on to tune out what I was saying to him. We were having a talk when the song came on.”
“Brian’s face went blank and he drove me into the lake. It was like he wasn’t even paying attention. I tried snapping him out of it but he ignored me. The damn song drowned out everything, and it seemed to play on a loop.” Nick said suddenly. It was starting to dawn on him that Brian was under some kind of spell.
“So what do you have that disc for?” Brian asked. Nick directed Howie to the CD player and Howie put in the disc, pressing play. Everybody blared through the speakers, Alexis tapping her foot.
“I don’t know why we are bothering listening to ourselves….” Nick mumbled.
“Just wait.” Howie said. They all looked at Brian as he went rigid, his eyes dark and expression blank.
“Brian?” Alexis called, but there was no reply. He lunged at Nick, grabbing for his neck.
“TURN IT OFF!!!” Nick screamed as he choked. Howie ran to shut the music and Brian collapsed, as if nothing had happened. Nick gasped for air and held his chest.
“What just happened?” he demanded once he regained consciousness.
“You tried to kill me again.” Nick said blankly as he rubbed his neck.
“There is something else though….I think this is bigger than all of us.” Howie told them.
Nick just wondered if they’d be able to have lunch, he was so tired of the back and forth with the guys. He sat there watching Howie, wondering what else it could be….