"You've really done it now," I complained. I was staring at the wall, but the sound of Kev zipping up his jeans was unmistakable. "Kristin thinks you need to sleep."
"I do need to sleep," Kev said. I turned around. He did look kinda rough around the edges. The bags around his eyes might as well have been labeled 'Hefty.' "You said it yourself. Nurse Becky's on duty right now. It won't hurt if I lay down for a couple hours, will it?"
"You're gonna sleep while your wifey's mad at you?" I questioned.
"It's part of marriage. Kristin gets mad and we leave each other alone to cool off. Then when we make-up..."
"I've seen what happens," I said. I know knew two things about brain-dead ghosts. One - you can't cry. Two - you can't throw up (God knows I tried).
Kev crawled back into bed. "You said it yourself. It's the perk of being married."
I hovered close to his bedside. "Doesn't it get old?"
"Sleeping with one person."
Kev smiled. "Not if you know what to do."
I snorted. "It didn't look like you were doing much. She was doing all the work and--"
"Good night, Nick."
"But it's morning!"
He didn't say anything else. A few minutes later, I knew he was zonked out. I sighed. I was just about ready to go another round with Henry the Eighth when the door opened.
Kristin crept towards the bed wrapped in a robe. Her eyes softened. She pulled a thin blanket over Kev and tucked it in around him. She leaned down and kissed his forehead.
"You poor thing," she whispered.
It was a really sweet moment. Kristin crawled into bed next to him and snuggled up. The room oozed with intimacy. Not the 'I'm gonna bang your brains out' intimacy. It was something else...
Something I wasn't familiar with.
I knew I needed to leave them alone. I knew they would be at the hospital later. Until then, I needed to be back with my body. I concentrated hard. The now familiar fading came and went.
At first, I thought I had come to the wrong place. There were so many bodies packed in the room it was insane.
"WAIT! WAIT! I NEED ORDER!"
"Bri?" I said. I freaked more than a few girls out with my coldness as I pushed my way through the bodies.
Brian and Nurse Becky were standing by my bed. Bri looked panicked.
"I'm so going to get fired," Nurse Becky mumbled as Bri stood on a chair.
"Numbers one through ten stay here! Everyone else ya gotta wait downstairs with AJ or Nick will never wake up!"
A loud rumbling flew through the crowd. After another few minutes of insanity, the room cleared out except for ten girls.
I had no clue what was going on. Bri whapped his scarf behind his shoulder and took a deep breath.
"Okay, this is how it's going to work. Each of you is going to come up to the bed and give Nick one kiss. After ten seconds if he hasn't stirred, then you're not the one. Got it?"
The girls nodded.
My mouth dropped open. How did Bri know about the mission? Where did all these girls come from?
One by one girl after girl came to my bedside and gave me a kiss. After the first ten disappeared, Nurse Becky turned to Brian.
"I'm not so sure about this--"
"Kev's heart is in the right place and I'm determined to help him. I have the power of Twitter on my side."
Bri held up his phone. "Chirp," he said for emphasis.
I glanced at Nurse Becky again. She sighed. "I shouldn't have said anything."
"No! I'm glad you did. This would be so like Nick. Machines can only do so much. But girls...that's what he lives for."
Bri left the room, no doubt to call up the next ten. Nurse Becky turned to me and patted my hand.
"Your friends are nuts, but they mean well. For your sake, I hope this works."
With that, she walked out. Bri came back with the next gaggle of groupies. I hovered by my head and smiled.
This was gonna be a fun day. I couldn't wait until Kev came and saw how many chicks Bri had managed to snag me.
Sure, I probably didn't know any of them, but it kind of made sense. Maybe I hadn't even met Miss Right yet.
I'd woken up to find her in my arms and smiled before turning to say "See? There are perks to marriage." but he was gone. I shot up and almost knocked Kristin out of the bed again. "NICK?" I bellowed. Nothing. "NICK?"
Kristin grabbed my arms before I could get out of bed. "Kevin! Kevin!" she yelled, even as I was struggling to get out of bed. I hadn't said anything this time! Why would he have left? I clawed at the blankets and tried to pry Kris's hands off of me to go see if he was in the living room, hover-crafting around in there or something. Sure last time he disappeared he'd been in the hospital room, but this time... this time... what if he'd...
"KEVIN." Kristin yanked me so hard that I tumbled flat on my back into the bed. I stared up at her. "Nick is not here," she whispered. Her eyes pooled with tears, "He's not here," she repeated. She reached down and rubbed my chest. "You poor baby," she whispered.
"I know he's not here," I said rationally, "That's why I'm panicking!"
"Kev," she hummed. "Calm down... Its okay. We'll go visit him."
"Right now?" I pleaded. Please be there, Nick, I thought.
"Right now." Kris kissed my forehead.
I was high strung all the way to the hospital. My heart was racing, my head was aching. My fingers clutched the steering wheel... Kristin rubbed my arm and whispered soothingly. "It's okay, Kev," she said, pouting, "He's okay."
I ran through the lobby doors to the elevator....... and stopped short, frozen in place.
I felt Kris come to a stop beside me.
I could not believe what I was seeing.
"Enough jostling, ladies! I told you already, if I have to speak to you more than once about the pushing I'm going to have to forbid you from seeing him... That's right... Now orderly... orderly..."
AJ was standing on a bench in the waiting area of the hospital next to the elevator doors and a large ficus plant. He had a clipboard and was waving his arms and pointing with a pencil in various directions as a huge crowd of girls milled and pushed around in the cramped space.
"What in the world?" I heard Kristin mutter, "When did you tell the fans about Nick's condition?" she asked.
"I didn't," I snapped.
I launched myself forward, shoving my way through the crowd; I was being flung responses as I made my way towards my tattooed friend. "AJ just said to stop pushing!" "HEY! Wait your turn!" "Who do you think you--" That last one actually looked to see what was happening when I shoved her, and saw me. I was about halfway across the sea of fans. "OH MY GOD!" she screamed, "KEVIN!"
All of them turned to look. Including AJ.
"KEVIN!" AJ yelled, beaming.
"Watch out," I snapped at the girls. I pushed my way through them still. They continued jostling, this time towards me instead of the elevator. I finally managed to get to AJ and I shouted, "AJ, what the fuck is all this?"
AJ turned red, "Well Brian said that ---" he stopped mid-sentence.
"BRIAN said WHAT?" I demanded.
The elevator doors chimed and slid open and there stood Brian next to a hysterical girl wearing a Backstreet Boys t-shirt. He looked up, "Next?" he called as the girl stepped out of the elevator. Several girls shoved to get to him from the front of the line, and finally one made it.
"BRIAN THOMAS LITTRELL!" I bellowed.
Brian looked up.
"What in the hell are you doing?" I waved my arms at all the girls.
Brian's face fell, paled, then turned almost green. "Shit." His hand shot for the elevator door button.
I managed to get onto the elevator before it closed.
The fan was paler than Brian, gawking between the two of us, clutching a teddy bear in her hands, eyes wide. Normally, I wouldn't kill one of the other Boys in front of a fan - but this, I felt, was a special occasion.
"What in the name of Saint Peter's holy dove crap is going on here?" I wailed.
Brian scuffed his toe against the floor. "I'm trying to wake him up..."
My mind reeled. "What?"
"Well if he gets a kiss from The One, he wakes up, right?"
I stared at him. "You see him too?" I gasped. "Does Nick know?"
Brian stared at me. "What?"
"Nick's nurse, Becky, she told me about you and the polygamist thing and --" he paused, "What the hell are you talking about?"
"She told you about that?" I demanded.
"What the fuck business is it of hers?" I asked, anger rising through my face. And where the HELL is Nick? I thought.
Brian shrugged, "She wants him to wake up as much as I do, Kevin, it's in her job description."
The elevator doors chimed at the top and I stepped out of the car before Brian could and bolted for the bedroom Nick was in. Nurse Becky came running up behind me. "Kevin," she cried, clutching papers in her hands, "Kevin, I need to talk to y---"
"WHY DID YOU TELL BRIAN ABOUT MY FUCKING MISSION?" I screamed, "WHAT THE FRIG IS THE BIG IDEA? YOU NOSY BITCH!"
Nurse Becky looked taken aback. "I didn't --"
"THERE ARE LAWS AGAINST YOU TALKING ABOUT HIM---DID YOU KNOW THAT? YOU CAN'T SHARE PRIVATE INFORMATION!"
Nick came zooming out of the room, gleeful at first, then, when he saw what was happening, his face fell and he walied, "Kev!! Don't get mad at her!" he begged.
"WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?"
Becky shrunk away. "I- I'm sorry, I --"
"This is wrong on SO MANY LEVELS," I barked at her.
Tears were in her eyes.
"What I was doing was private!" I shouted, "You had no business telling anyone. I'm calling the hospital later, I want Nick transferred. I don't want him here with you and that other toad," I snarled. "This is ridiculous."
"NO!" Becky and Nick both wailed at the same time.
Nick zoomed in front of Becky and spread his arms out, "Kev, no! I like her being my nurse! She's my favorite! I want Becky taking care of me!" he looked horrified.
"I can do whatever the fuck I want!" I yelled, "I am legally the one who makes all decisions about it!"
Becky's face paled even further. "Um.. That's... That's actually what I needed to - to talk to you about."
Nick whipped around.
"What?" I snapped.
"I - I got orders from higher up," she whispered. "Nick's father, Robert Carter, filed for an override on Nick's medical contacts list citing that he is a blood relative. He - he won." She thrust a sheath of papers to me, shoving them right through Nick's stomach. Nick stared down at her hand, and she shivered. I grabbed the papers and she withdrew her hand and rubbed her arms.
"She felt me," he whispered, focusing on her.
My eyes swept the sheet.
Robert Carter was now legally in charge of making all choices about Nick and his medical care.
And he wanted the plug pulled if Nick hadn't woken up within 24 hours.
I looked up. "Twenty-four hours?" I hissed.
Nurse Becky nodded.
"Twenty-four hours for what?" Nick asked, looking at me, then at Becky, then back at me. "Twenty-four hours for what, Kev? Kev?"
Brian had migrated closer. "What happened?" He looked over my shoulder at the form. "NO!" he yelled, "NO!! HE CAN'T! NICK'S NOT DEAD!"
I clutched the paper and looked up at Nick, who hovered directly in front of me. "Please Kevin," he begged, "Please!" He was closer now to crying than he'd been even when I'd hurt him so much with my words.
My heart felt like it was being squeezed. For the first time, I realized that not only could I very seriously loose Nick forever, but I really didn't have any control over any of it. I suddenly knew what Brian had felt when I'd talked about pulling the plug.
"Please Kevin, fix it!" Nick's voice was shaky and cracking, "Please."