How could he have been so stupid?
Kevin’s eyes went wide as his cousin fell, everything seemed to happen in slow motion. He didn’t mean for any of this to happen….
“Brian! Come on, answer me…” Kevin begged, shaking him gently. Brian stirred and sat up, rubbing his head.
“He…he’s gone…” Brian whispered, his eyes watering as his head throbbed in reply. A sneaker lay next to him on the ground, charred and falling apart- It was Nick’s shoe. Brian shuddered as he clung to it, letting the tears fall.
“He’s going into shock…someone get a paramedic over here!” Kevin shouted, but everything sounded muffled to Brian. He let Nick down….
Kevin poked his head into the ambulance where Brian was resting a while later. It was very cold out, the February air biting at their faces.
“I couldn’t save him. I was too late.” Brian whispered in a hollow voice, sitting up and running a hand through his hair.
“You were stupid for going back in there.” Kevin scolded him.
“Don’t you care that Nick’s….that he’s-”
“Of course I care, Brian. The important thing is that you and AJ made it. He would have wanted that.” Kevin said. He thought about what Nick had told them in the dressing room….why didn’t he listen? He hated what he was becoming and knew Brian could see through him, those eyes that looked at him now, they knew he wasn’t being sincere.
“Kevin, what is going on? I feel like you knew….like you knew this would happen…” Brian whispered, but a police officer had caught their attention.
“Excuse me, is one of you Mr. Richardson?”
“Come with me for a moment.”
Brian shivered as he thought about Kevin’s actions that day. What was he hiding?
A few moments later, Kevin returned, looking frustrated.
“Did they find him?” Brian asked. Kevin took his hand and placed something in it, something cold. Brian opened his hand and his mouth fell open….it was the necklace Nick had given him. The cross shone brightly, the diamonds on it twinkling as he turned it over to read the inscription.
“I’m always with you…..this is the one I gave him for his birthday….” Brian said, his eyes watering again.
“This is all they could find. I’m sorry….they are calling off the search for tonight.” Kevin replied, not meeting his gaze.
“He has to be alive, Kevin. I can feel it. Can’t they look a bit longer?” Brian asked. He was released from the ambulance and they walked to a van waiting nearby to take them back to the hotel.
“They said it is impossible he survived that explosion.” Kevin said, his voice cracking a little. He hated to lie to his cousin but this was something he had to do. The boys got into the van and it pulled out of the parking lot as snow flurries fell gently around them. Brian leaned against the cold glass of the window, Nick’s voice echoing to him.
“Don’t leave….come back….”
It was like a ghost’s whisper, like he was reaching to him from the ashes….telling him it would be all right.
“Why are they leaving?” Renee said as she and her friend Amber watched the scene unfold outside of the arena.
“I don’t know….but Nick is missing.” Amber said, flipping her red hair out of her face and shivering. The girls watched as the police finally called off the search and packed up to leave.
“Renee let’s go. Even the guys left….” Amber begged. Renee nodded and went to get the car, parked on the other side of the parking lot. As Amber walked along the rubble where the arena stood….she heard some of it shifting.
Amber heard a soft moan coming from under a wooden door. She saw a hand….an ash covered hand reaching, reaching out to her.
Oh my god.” she whispered as she ran to it, her hair flying behind her. She moved the door and gasped at the young man laying under it, a trickle of blood playing at his lips which were steadily turning blue. His jeans were covered in his own blood and he moaned again, coughing.
“Please….please..don’t…” he whispered weakly. The man’s clothes were in tatters, his face covered in cuts and dried blood. Amber just stared in shock. She wanted to help but had no idea where to even begin.
“Help me…” he coughed, and his eyes rolled into the back of his head….his body still once more.
“No…no, please answer me…” she begged.
“I got the car, if you’re ready to go….Oh my god.” Renee gasped when she walked over. She knelt down next to her, watching her take the man’s pulse. Amber was in school to be a nurse, but she had no idea what to do.
“Renee, we need to help him. His breathing is not good at all, and his body is like ice. Do we have something in your car to keep him warm?” she asked. Renee nodded and came back with two coats and a blanket. Amber took her own jacket and placed it over him.
“That looks like Nick…..he really looks like Nick.” Renee commented. Amber realized she was right. Nick Carter was laying in front of her and he was dying. Amber couldn’t find a pulse the second time and she had to do CPR while Renee called for help.
“They won’t be here for another 20 minutes…jackasses.” Renee growled when she hung up.
“He could be dead by then. We have to keep him warm. Give me your jacket…” Amber said. Renee shifted uncomfortably but removed her jacket and placed it over Nick’s legs…shivering a little.
“Help is on the way, Nick. Just hold on a bit longer….” Amber whispered, taking his hand in hers as the snow fell around them.
Previous N “Brian, you’ve been watching that TV for hours. Shouldn’t you be resting?” Howie suggested. Brian sat in front of the television in the hotel room, scanning any news channel he could find to see if Nick had been found. Nobody was giving out any information. Brian just knew that Nick wasn’t dead like Kevin had told him….he knew that Nick had survived the blast.
“He can’t sleep, he has a concussion.” Kevin snapped as he made phone calls to Nick’s family. Brian jumped over the couch to retrieve his cell phone as it rang, the others watching in surprise.
“He’s alive….he’s alive….” Brian shouted as he ran out of the hotel room. Kevin’s eyes went dark, how could this be possible?
“Let’s go get Nicky back.” AJ said suddenly, disrupting his thoughts. There would be time for explanations later, Kevin thought as he followed his friends out of the room, he just hoped Nick could tell them.