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Author's Chapter Notes:
Kevin is reunited with Howie and Nick :O)

This fiend, whose ghastly presence ever
Beside thee like thy shadow hangs,
Dream not to chase;—the mad endeavour
Would scourge thee to severer pangs.
Be as thou art. Thy settled fate,
Dark as it is, all change would aggravate.

From “Oh! There are Spirits of the Air” by Percy Bysshe Shelley


~ 27 ~


A Wrench in the Plan


Kevin was trying his best to keep his emotions in check after the little threat from Tim. Listening to the man whistling beside him had to be the worst feeling in the world. He was so panicked, at one point he actually thought about just opening the truck door and jumping out. But in the end, he managed to keep his cool head as the truck stopped in front of this quaint little cabin in the middle of nowhere.

“This is it!” Tim said proudly, “You like it?”

“It’s nice, seems very peaceful.” Kevin added that last part as an aside more to himself than anyone else.

Tim got out of the truck and moved to the passenger door, “I guess I’ll have to carry you in.”

Kevin nodded as Tim opened the door, “You ready?”


He grabbed Kevin and slung him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He was kind of surprised how easy it was for the guy. Surprised and also worried. That only meant Tim was nice and strong…great, nothing like a nice, strong crazy person. When they got to the front door he placed Kevin back on the ground which sent a small groan coming out of the Kentuckian’s mouth. “Sorry, guess I should have warned you about that.”

Kevin was quick to take the weight off of his bad ankle by lifting it slightly off the ground and Tim countered by wrapping Kevin’s arm around his shoulder so he wouldn’t fall. “I thought we’d walk through the door. Howie might have panicked if he saw me carrying you in like that. We want him to know you are okay and I didn’t hurt you.” Tim winked and then opened the door.

“I’m home and brought some company.”

When they walked in, Howie was sitting at the table, but when he saw Kevin he stood up slowly and his mouth opened wide in surprise. “Kevin? What are you doing here?”

Kevin smiled at his friend, “Hey D.”

“Where are AJ and Brian?” He asked alarmed.

“They are still at the van, don’t worry. They’re okay.”  Tim looked at the table and pointed, “What’s this?”

Howie seemed nervous and distracted, staring at Kevin with wide eyes before turning his attention to Tim, “Oh…I thought I’d surprise you by cutting you another piece of cake and making you some coffee. I feel bad that I didn’t really seem all that excited about your birthday earlier.” Then he looked directly at Kevin again, “I was just worried about Nick and couldn’t concentrate on anything more than that.”

Kevin felt his heart begin to race as Howie said those words slowly and precisely so that he would get the message that something was wrong.

“That was very nice of you, Howie!” Tim turned to Kevin, “See? I told you they liked me.” Once again he turned back to D, “I was just telling Kevin here that we had birthday cake and he could have some.” He guided Kevin over to the table and helped him sit.

Howie sat at the table across from Kevin and shook his head slightly at his friend while staring at the piece of cake.

“Where is Nick?” Kevin asked. “I’d really like to see him.”

“He’s resting in the bedroom.” Howie answered while never taking his eyes off of the cake sitting in front of Kevin.

“Nick! Come on out here! There’s a special visitor I think you’ll be really happy to see!” Tim looked over at the two men sitting at the table and put his hand to his mouth to hide his grin, just like a child would when waiting to give his parents a huge surprise. “Nick, come on out buddy, don’t be rude!”

Howie answered, “He’s probably sleeping and I don’t think he is in any shape to make it out here anyway.”

Again those words sent small waves of panic down Kevin’s spine. What had happened? Why couldn’t Nick come out, what had Tim done to him?

Tim nodded, “Well why don’t you go ahead and have some of that cake while I go get Nick.” He walked into the bedroom.

The second he was out of the room, Howie whispered harshly, “What are you doing here?”

“He came back to the van to kill all of us, I convinced him to take me here mostly to save AJ and Brian.”


Kevin nodded, “What’s the deal with Nick?”

Howie ignored the question and instead moved the slice of cake out of Kevin’s reach. “You can’t eat that cake Kev, or the coffee. It’s loaded with psych meds.”

Before Kevin had a chance to ask any more questions, Tim walked in the room part carrying and part dragging a half conscious Nick. He had one of Nick’s arms slung around his shoulder and was carrying him with his hand at Nick’s waste as his feet dragged slightly off the floor.

Howie stood up and quickly went to help as Kevin just sat there staring in a stunned silence. Kevin didn’t know what to think. Howie and Tim led Nick to the seat that Howie vacated and when he almost fell off, D stopped him by squatting beside him to act as a bumper allowing their younger friend to lean on him without falling.

“Jesus…” Kevin managed to get out, “What happened to him?”

Howie looked over at Kevin again but it was Tim who answered, “He hurt himself in the accident but it’s nothing that some aspirin and rest won’t fix. I think he’s faking for attention, aren’t you Nick?” He winked at the blonde who was now beginning to be more aware of his surroundings.

He first glanced at Howie, “D?”

“Yeah buddy.”

Then he looked across the table at Kevin. “Kev?” He tried to say his whole name but he couldn’t get it out. He sounded incredibly out of breath and weak.

Kevin wanted to get up and rush over to him but just putting the slightest bit of pressure on his ankle made him quickly sit back down. “It’s me little man…” He placed his arm across the table and reached for Nick’s hand.

“Why….here…” He looked around, “AJ…Brian?”

“They’re safe, Nicky.” Howie assured him as his grip tightened on his friend who seemed to be slumping slightly off the chair.

Nick nodded and closed his eyes for a second, “Good.”

“I brought Kevin here so he can have some cake and then I’m taking him to the hospital for his ankle. I thought that would make you happy. That makes you happy, right?”

Nick looked up at Tim and nodded and then looked over at Kevin, “Good.” He said again.

Kevin had a giant lump in his throat, “Tim…”

Tim had moved to the kitchen to grab a few more plates and milk. “Eat your cake!”

Howie once again gave a warning glance to Kevin as Nick mouthed the word ‘don’t’ while looking at the cake in front of him. “Thanks, I’m not really all that hungry at the moment.” He made a conscious effort to move the cake as far away as possible.

“You sure, it’s really quite good and I’ll be offended if you don’t at least try a little.” Tim made his way over to the table, carrying empty plates and coffee cups and made it a point of putting the cake right back in front of his new visitor. Kevin glanced over at Howie as he closed his eyes in frustration. At that moment he knew he had become the wrench in the plan his friend had made.

Kevin had no idea what to do, he slowly took a fork and placed the smallest amount possible onto it and put it in his mouth, making sure not to swallow. Tim watched and smiled, “It’s good, right?”

Kevin didn’t answer but only nodded, still holding the small piece of cake in his mouth. Nick, whose hand was still stretched across the table, let go of Kevin’s hand and made a sweeping motion that ended up making the plate of cake sail to the floor. When it hit, Kevin quickly turned his head and spit it out as Tim rushed over to the mess.

“Sorry…” Nick was barely able to get out.

Howie held tight to his friend afraid that Tim was going to strike him, but he only shook his head, “Clumsy bumpkin!” He said very calmly. He turned to Kevin “We’ll get you another piece of cake. I’ll go grab a broom and clean up this mess. I should make you do it!” He said to Nick pointing his finger at him.

“Thanks Nick.” Kevin whispered once Tim left the room.

“There goes that then.” Howie sounded defeated.

“Coffee…” Nick stammered as a reminder that not all was lost. He couldn’t handle the stress of keeping his head up so he laid it on the table. From that angle, Kevin was really able to hear how labored Nick’s breathing was which sent him into full-fledged panic mode.

“Tim…can I ask you for a huge favor?” He said once the man came back with broom and dustpan in hand and began sweeping up the mess.

“What is it?”

“I was wondering if you’d consider taking Nick to the hospital instead of me.”

He could tell he had maybe said something wrong when he saw Howie close his eyes as Tim’s demeanor seemed to change, “So, you’re going to start this too now?”

That’s when he realized the argument he had with Howie earlier probably had to do with this very topic. “Look at him, Tim.” He placed his hand on Nick’s arm. “Can’t you tell that’s he’s having a hard time breathing? Can’t you see he’s not well?”

Tim laughed, “He’s acting.”

“No, he isn’t. I’ve known him my entire life and I can tell you without a doubt, he is not acting.”

Tim looked down at Nick and placed his hand on his back as he tried to breathe. “You can feel him struggling, right?” Howie asked still holding his friend in place. “You say you love him and he’s part of your family, right? Don’t you want to take care of your family?” He paused once more, “I mean OUR new family?”

Kevin grimaced hearing Howie say those words. He watched Tim move his hand from Nick’s back to his own chin in contemplation. He felt like they were starting to win him over so he figured he’d continue the argument. “I will gladly stay here as collateral until he’s well enough to come back to you.”

“What if he doesn’t come back?”

“He will. If he knows I’m here unless he comes back, he will.”

“Is that true, Nick, will you come back here after you’re all better?”

Nick with his eyes half opened nodded.

“And you promise you won’t say anything to anybody?”

Once again he nodded.

“Okay, maybe I will do that then.”

Both Howie and Kevin let out small sighs of relief as D rubbed at Nick’s back who had once again placed his head on the table.

“You’re making the right decision, Tim.” Kevin assured the crazy man as a few tears escaped his eyes. The last thing he wanted was to be stuck at this house with a madman but he had to sacrifice himself to save Nick. It just felt right, since he was the reason Nick was in this situation in the first place. He only wished he could have done the same for Howie. At least three of them would be safe now. Maybe while Tim was taking Nick to the hospital they could formulate a new and better plan.

Tim nodded, “I’m going to the john and then we’ll go before I change my mind.”

He walked into the bathroom. “I’m sorry I ruined your plan.” Kevin said as soon as the door was closed.

“He still has the coffee there. It’s not all lost. I plan on making sure he drinks it when he gets back.” Howie took the coffee and moved it to the counter, ensuring Tim wouldn’t throw it away.

“I don’t want…leave you…guys.” Nick said trying to sit up.

“Nicky, you have to…everything will be okay. Kevin and I will figure something out and you can tell them all about us. Try to tell them as much as you can.”

He looked over at Kevin, “Thank you.”

“It’s what big brothers do.” Kevin reached across the table and once again took Nick’s hand in his own. “Get well, okay? We love you.”

Tim walked out of the bathroom and went to grab Nick. “Are you ready to go?” He asked the blonde who nodded. “Why don’t you walk me to the truck!” He said more like a command and less like a question to Howie.

He placed Nick over his shoulder exactly the way he had done to Kevin earlier and the three of them ventured to the truck leaving Kevin alone, sitting at the table.

As they were leaving, Kevin was trying to figure out what time it was. He guessed it had to be well into the wee hours of the morning which meant daylight would be happening soon. Maybe AJ and Brian had found help by now. Maybe there would already be police at the van. Maybe the police already were looking for the truck that Nick and Tim would be driving in. He hoped that now it was only a matter of time before they would all be saved.

Within a few minutes, Howie and Tim were back, “Okay boys, I need to lock you in the bedroom while I’m gone, no offense. I know Howie won’t go anywhere but I still don’t fully trust you.

“With this ankle, I’m pretty much not going anywhere either.” He pointed to his swollen ankle. Something he was trying to forget about.

Tim laughed, “Probably true, but even still…” He helped Kevin off of his chair and led them both into the bedroom. “When I get back, we’ll have the rest of that coffee and cake, how does that sound?”

“Great.” Howie nodded and smiled.

“See you later, boys!” Tim winked at them and then padlocked the door.


Chapter End Notes:
I'll be back tomorrow with chapter 28. Hope you're still enjoying the insanity! lol