“Every little thing about her says she’s trouble…trouble…”
Those are our voices. That’s our song.
“And every little thing she do just makes me want her more…more and more…”
What the hell happened? Where am I?
“She melts, melts herself all over me…me…me…”
I found a house. Got let inside, bandaged up, then what?
“As sexy candle but so much hotter…”
Bright light attacked his eyes as they blinked open bit by bit. He squinted at his surroundings as they slowly adjusted and came into focus around him. This room seemed different than the others. The walls weren’t simply decorated with family photos and tasteful paintings. Instead there were girlish things adorning the walls, star shaped lights strung above the window. Posters along the walls. Nick suddenly realized he was surrounded with posters, countless posters of nineties boybands – NSYNC, LFO, Take 5, 5ive, Otown, Hanson, Youngstown, 98 Degrees… But the most were of the only group that hadn’t disbanded. A group he was proud to be a member of. And then there were many, many pictures of himself, solo.
She said she was a fan but, this is like a shrine to her fucking teeny days. Why am I in here? What happened?
Nick tried to remember what came after that but it was all a blur. Had he hit his head again? It was aching as if he had. He moved to rub it and his brows shot up when he jerked his arm only to realize it couldn’t come down. His wrists slammed against metal handcuffs and frantically he looked around. He was bound down to a heavy wooden bed frame that gave no sign of caving to him any time soon. This made no sense. The last thing he remembered was coming inside and Raven wrapping him up. His brow furrowed as he struggled to recall anything more. Did they have dinner?
No, lunch. We had lunch. Didn’t we? Did we go anywhere? His eyes shot around wildly, frantically like a caged lion. His heart pounded against his chest as he came up with more questions that begged desperately to be answered.
“Hello? HELLO?! I need to get out!” He screamed.
The sound of he and the fellas singing continued to haunt him. “Pain is just pleasure with the volume up, I want it louuuuuuder…”
“Can anyone hear me?! HELLO!”
Then, the music stopped.
“Good morning Nick!” Raven came in the doorway with a sweet smile. In her hands was a bed tray adorned with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and a small glass of milk. They were cut into the shape of hearts. “How are we feeling this morning?”
“What the fuck is this!?”
She set the trey over his chest before sitting in a chair at the side of the bed. “Shhh, if you don’t calm down you’ll reinjure yourself. You’re here for your protection.”
“Turn that shit off!” Nick didn’t know why but the sound of their voices singing in the background felt like the biggest mockery of them all. Raven sighed but reached over and shut off her IPod. “I thought maybe the music would soothe you, something familiar.”
“What. The. Hell. Is. This. SHIT?!”
Raven hovered above him and dabbed at his face with a wet washcloth. Her actions completely contradicted his current captivity. She was almost motherly in the way she tried to tend to him. “Shhh, calm down and I can explain everything to you.”
It took everything Nick possessed not tell her to shove that back to hell and to follow it down. He took a deep breath and winced at the pain in his chest. “Fine.”
She lifted his sheets. One thing Nick was relieved about was the fact he still had his pants on. “Maybe I should’ve gone lighter on the dose. You fell pretty hard and might’ve caused more damage to yourself.” She sighed and shook her head. “I guess what’s done is done.”
He struggled against the handcuffs again but to no avail. “You going to tell me what’s going on?”
Raven simply ignored the question, instead picking up one of the sandwiches. She hummed at him and began to feed him like he was a baby. “Here comes the plane!” Her eyes narrowed when he clamped his mouth shut. “Nickolas, you need to cooperate if this is going to work.”
You think I’m fucking stupid? He thought to himself with an eye roll so hard he felt like he could see his brain.
She rolled her eyes right back at him. “If I want to drug you, all I need now is a syringe. Now you need to eat so I can give you some pain medication.”
Sighing, he opened his mouth and let her feed him. It was as if the mere mention of medication reminded his body of the battle it’d been through so far. His head was aching, his muscles sore. His shoulder in particular was throbbing. Nick didn’t have to be able to reach his ribs to know they were still tender. Every breath he took told him that. He was at this girl’s mercy, as horrifying as the situation was in that moment.
Raven smiled sweetly. “That’s my boy. I tricked you the first time because I know this is going to take time. You don’t know what I know. Once you do then I’ll be able to release you. We can be happy together Nick, we can make this work.”
He spat in her face. “You’re fucking crazy!”
So much for staying calm, he thought immediately after.
Her reaction was swift. Raven stood and slapped him as hard she could, her nails scraping across his skin. Nick’s head jerked to the side upon impact and his cheek burned immediately after. He could feel a wetness trickling along his face and knew she’d drawn blood. His eyes were wide with shock. Why, he wasn’t sure. The handcuffs and drugging were sure enough signs this woman wasn’t with a sane mind.
“Damn it!” She took the washcloth and began dabbing at the small cuts she made. “See what you made me do?” She sniffed and rubbed at the corner of her eyes with her free hand. “I don’t want to hurt you, Nick. I love you. But because I love you, I have to do what’s best.” Raven sighed. “Even if you don’t understand. I’ve done a lot of things people don’t understand because it was for the best. Life is about the sacrifices you make for the good of others. It hurts me, hurting you. Don’t make me do it again.” The warning was crystal clear within her voice.
He swallowed hard. “So what, you’re just going to keep me captive here?!”
“You’ll be free eventually, but by then I just know you’ll want to stay.” Raven kissed him on the cheek. It made Nick shudder involuntarily. Her gentle blue eyes grew cold as ice. “I don’t care how long it takes. I’ve waited a long time for you. I’ve been a fan of you for so long.” Her smile that followed was wistful. “All the way back to your Red Album, my cousin was living in Europe and sent me a copy of your debut saying it was the big thing back there. I saw your picture…” She brushed his hair back out of his face. “And I just knew.”
Slowly she sat back down and began to feed him again. Nick complied out of fear of what would happen. “Knew what?”
She held up a straw from the glass of milk to his mouth and let him sip. Never in his life had he felt so helpless. So at the mercy of another the way he was now. “Knew that one day, it would be you and me. I just had to be patient. A few months ago I was even ready to give up, and move on.”
Deep down, he knew he shouldn’t ask, but he couldn’t help himself. “What stopped you?”
Raven tilted her head and continued to feed her charge. “Your tweet, sweetie, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten…”
Tweet? The fuck? I tweet hundreds, no thousands, of fans…
“I remember tweeting you the way I always do when I notice you’re on Twitter. And you finally saw me! Realized what I did. When you told me you loved me too.”
Oh…fuck. How many times had he tweeted fans that tweeted their love to him? It seemed so harmless at the time. Three words to their twitter handle and they’d squeal and tweet him their happiness. And it wasn’t a lie, not really. Nick did love his fans, the group’s fans. It was their unwavering support that kept the group alive even at their darkest times. But he’d thought they’d all grown far past the teenybopper stage of thinking he was truly in love with any of them. Despite the hate Lauren would get from the more “interesting” section of his fanbase, or as Nick thought of them, completely crazy, he figured even they weren’t that delusional. This is what he got for thinking – becoming a helpless captive of a whacked out fan who thought they were soul mates. Taking a deep breath, he gazed up at his warden as his mind raced for something, anything, to help him find the right words.
Were there any right words for this?
“I love all my fans.” He said with a tone that was as soft and as gentle as possible. It was as if he was speaking to a small child.
Her eyes narrowed momentarily. The cruel look faded as quickly as it came. “You poor thing, you’ve been coached to say that so often it’s probably instinct for you.” She ruffled his hair. “It’s okay. I’ll help you realize your true feelings and we’ll be happy together.”
Nick stared at her. There was nothing he could say to bring her back to any semblance of reality.
“Do you want to watch TV?” She set the now empty TV tray aside and reached for the remote. On the other side of the room was an older television with a huge back. It still worked when she turned it on. “I’ve had this thing since I was a teenager.”
Nick nodded and his eyes widened at his face being plastered along the screen. A young lady by the name of Julie was reporting. “The bus was found along the edge of Shadow Woods two days prior. The bodies that had been found have now been revealed to be the bus driver David Schultz and New Kids member, Jordan Knight. There has been no sign of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter who was also believed to be in the bus on the way to his and Jordan’s next show. Police continue the search for his body.”
Raven giggled, her eyes bright. “They don’t even know you’re alive, it’s like my little secret.”
“The other members of the Backstreet Boys released this statement – Our thoughts and prayers go to the remaining members of NKOTB and to their fans. We still hold out the hope that Nick is alive and want to reach out to anyone who may have information as to what happened to him. If he’s no longer with us, we simply want to find closure.”
“I bet Howie is the saddest…” She mused as she glanced at her prisoner. The story continued on in the background. “You two were the new Frick and Frack.”
Nick kept his gaze on the TV. He knew the fellas were going crazy. They’d been protective of him for as long as he could remember. Even when things got rough.
“His wife, Lauren Kitt Carter had this to say,” Nick’s heart gave a lurch when he suddenly saw the love of his life on the screen. Her face was free of any makeup and her eyes were red from countless tears. “I know deep down Nick is out there somewhere. I love you and please, find your way back to us.”
The reporter continued after the video finished. “Again, if you know anything about the disappearance of Nick Carter, please contact the following number...”
“See, you gotta let me go.” He pleaded, struggling once again against his handcuffs. “They don’t even know I’m alive! Lauren…”
She whirled around on him, her face red. “You will NOT speak of that bitch in this house! Do you hear me? Lauren doesn’t exist anymore! If I had my way she’d be dead with your pitchy untalented friend Jordan! She tried to steal you away from me! If you bring her up then I’ll be forced to punish you!” Tears sprang to Raven’s eyes. “And I don’t want to punish you unless you make me!”
His heart pounded fiercely in his chest. Dear God, what is going to happen to me in here? Lauren, baby, please don’t give up on me!
She took his silence as submission and appeared placated. “There…” Her voice was tauntingly soothing. Raven leaned in and kissed his cheek. His stomach churned, threatening to expel the sandwiches within. “See? It’s gonna be alright. Everything is gonna be alright now that we’re together…”
But Nick knew the truth. Nothing was going to be alright ever again.