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Chapter Sixteen

Brian sat silently holding the cassette tape, which held a copy of their entire new album. He’d gone to the recording studio to ask for a copy so he could hear Kevin’s solo. He had to hear the entire thing, and hear all of the words. Now, he wished that he hadn’t. He words were haunting him. Kevin’s voice had been so calm and eerie. His body shook as a shiver went down his spine.

“Hey Bri,” Howie stated, walking into the waiting room followed by everyone else. They’d all gone for a quick walk around the hospital while Brian ran his errand.

“Hi,” he replied in monotone.

“What’s that in your hand,” A.J. asked with curiosity. He was smart enough to know that it was obviously what was causing Brian’s quietness.

“The album,” Brian answered simply.

The guys raised their eyebrows as they sat down. Anna quietly walked off to a far corner so that she could be alone. She had done nothing but cry since she’d found Kevin. She was still crying at that moment. She was tired and worn out, but she couldn’t sleep. She’d already tried that.

“Why do you have the album?” Nick asked, “Is it out in stores already? That was really fast. It only took, like, a day.”

Nobody answered Nick’s question. They weren’t in the mood to deal with his stupidity at that moment. Nick looked around waiting for an answer, but soon figured out that he wasn’t going to get one. He sighed.

“I wanted to listen to Kev’s solo,” he finally answered Nick’s first question, “After reading the few lines he left, I had to listen to it in whole.”

Nobody said a thing, waiting for Brian to finish. A.J. wanted to hear the song as well, but was too afraid to ask. It wasn’t because he thought that Brian would say no. It was because he had a feeling that he wouldn’t like what he would hear. The depressing words on paper was enough. Hearing them out loud would be way too much for him to handle. He wasn’t going to deny it.

“It’s a great song, but depressing. It’s nothing like we’ve ever recorded before. It’s not our style at all.”

“Why do you say that?” Stephanie asked somberly, “What exactly do you consider to be your style?”

“Not this,” Brian answered, holding the tape up, “This is…its really slow and his words are…chilling. I mean, we’ve put out a sad song or two, but nothing this bad. I’ve never heard a song this upsetting.”

“So what are you saying?” Howie asked, wondering why Brian was bringing all of this up.

Brian was silent for a moment. Kevin wanting his song to be heard was his last request, but it didn’t feel right. It was a hard decision to make, but something was telling him to go with his own instincts.

“I don’t think that we should perform it,” Brian stated, knowing that he was going against the wishes of the person that he cared about most.

“We have to,” Nick stated, “Kevin wanted us to do it. He put it in his letter. We have to give him his wish.”

“Nick, Kevin is still alive though,” Brian replied, “And if you could hear it, then you would realize why I think that it’s a bad idea.”

“But he wanted us to do it,” Howie nearly yelled, “Dead or alive, he wanted his feelings and pains expressed. He wanted the world to know about it. Shouldn’t we give him that?”

“D’s right,” Nick said, “Kevin was…I mean is a best friend to us. He’s taken care of us, been there to lend a hand. He’s helped us out through everything. Shouldn’t we do something for him now?”

Brian shook his head, “No,” he said roughly, “I…it’s not a good idea. I mean, the song is suicidal, for god sake. We can’t let fans hear that kind of material. Who knows what will happen with that. Besides, Kev wanted one of US to sing the song. Who would want to it?”

Again, the Boys were silent. Deep down, they knew that Brian was right. They couldn’t perform a song that was based on their friend’s suicidal thoughts. It would be morbid and disrespectful. The lines that they’d all read were pretty upsetting. The thing was, that’s all any of them knew of the song. Any of them except for Brian.

“How bad was it?” A.J. finally asked quietly, knowing that they would all have to find out sooner or later. He preferred it be later. He didn’t know if he could deal with anything else like that so soon.

Brian handed the tape over to A.J, “Here, listen for yourself,” he said, “But I don’t want to be around. I can’t handle listening to it again. Once was already too much as it is. The part that is in the letter is nothing compared to the rest.”

“Is it really that bad?” Howie asked.

He couldn’t imagine Brian not being able to listen to a song that his own cousin wrote. They were extremely close. He figured that the song must have shaken him up pretty much if he wanted nothing to do with it. Brian nodded, closing his eyes to trap his tears. He wished that he knew if Kevin was going to be okay or not. Even though the doctor said his chances weren’t good, Brian still wondered. A.J. slowly took the tape out of Brian’s outstretched hand. He looked at it if it were venomous.

“Well, do you want to go find somewhere to listen to it?” A.J. asked everyone, making up his mind, standing up, “Follow me if you do.”

Howie, Nick and Stephanie all stood up to chase after A.J. They all had a bad feeling that hearing the last track on the album would change their lives though.

“Aren’t you going to go too?” Brian asked Anna and Jaime.

Anna shook her head, sniffling, “I’ll hear it sooner or later. I don’t want to yet though. I’m not ready.”

She was still having vivid pictures running through her head of Kevin lying so still in the closet. She couldn’t erase the words he’d written from her mind. She didn’t want to hear them in her mind too.

“I…I don’t want to either,” Jaime stuttered.

Kevin’s letter had scared her a lot. It really made her think about a lot of things. Kevin’s attempt surprised her because he’d seemed like the least likely to ever do something like that. She guessed that’s the reason why everybody looked right past all of the signs that had pretty much been slapping them in the face. The thought just hadn’t even crossed their mind. They’d all thought that the strong, self-assured man was still in there somewhere. They’d all been wrong though. They’d all been fooled into believing something that wasn’t true.

“I don’t blame you,” he said, shivering, “Take my advice. Don’t. Especially you, Anna. I regret letting my curiosity get the best of me. It’s going to give me nightmares now for a really long time.” Anna stared at him blankly. Him telling her not to listen to it made her wonder what was so horrible about it. She knew, yet, she wondered if there was more to it than she was telling herself. She was tempted to find her other friends. At least with them, she’d have some support when she broke down, and she knew that she would. She knew that if she were alone when she listened to it, she’d lose total control of herself.

“I hope he makes it,” Anna said aloud, softly.

It had been less than twenty-four hours since she’d found him. This proved that a lot could happen in a day. Even if Kevin did survive, she knew that it still wouldn’t make everything okay.

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Jaime walked around the maternity floor looking in the window to the nursery at all of the newborn babies. She hadn’t been able to deal with the depressing mood that was in the air that had been lingering around, so she’d walked out deciding that she’d find something on a happier note to do for a little while. She smiled at the tiny little people on the other side of the glass wall. It was hard to believe that in a month and a half, her own baby would be there.

Jaime jumped when she felt a pair of strong arms circling around her waist. She looked back and saw A.J.

“I thought I might find you here,” he said, “Nobody knew where you’d gone off to. This was the first place I thought of.”

Jaime smiled. He knew her too well. It was obvious that despite their time apart, he had paid attention to her.

“So, how bad was Kevin’s song,” she asked, remembering that the majority of the group had ventured off to listen to it.

A.J. got really quiet remembering the words all over again. He wished that he hadn’t listened. Brian was right. They couldn’t perform it. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the song had been written for a purpose, then maybe it would have been all right. But since it was, it would be too hard on them to sing it. Another thing Brian was right about was that it wasn’t their style at all. The way it was sung and the words were completely unlike them.

“It’s extremely upsetting.” A.J. said, at loss of words to describe it, “I don’t know how or why he’d even write it.”

“So you wouldn’t recommend it to me or Anna to hear?” she asked, looking into his eyes to try and get some answers.

“No,” he replied harshly, then spoke in a kinder tone, “I mean, no. Even Stephanie froze up and turned pale, and she seems to be the strong one of you three girls.”

“That’s because she is,” Jaime replied lamely.

Jaime sighed, looking back into the room. She could see one of the babies crying, his face contorted into one of agony. She wondered if he were hungry or just wanted his mother. She wondered how she would know what her baby wanted. She wondered how she would know a lot of things. Jaime wasn’t sure if she was really ready to have the baby or not. There was still so much that she had to learn and so much to do to prepare and so little time to do it. She just wanted to be the best mother that she could be.

“Alex,” she said softly, “Please promise me that you won’t ever do anything like what Kevin did.”

A.J. spun her around to look at her and saw that tears were falling from her eyes. He pulled her in close to him, kissing the top of her head.

“Why would you ever say a thing like that?” he asked, “What would possess you to ask something like that?”

“This whole thing with Kevin. If he’d do it, then anybody is capable. Please…don’t leave me alone. Don’t leave me and our child alone.”

“Baby, I’m not going anywhere,” A.J. assured her, “I swear, I’m going to be right here.”

“You’ve already left once,” Jaime sobbed, “I’m afraid that you will again, only for good this time.”

“I said I was sorry,” A.J. said, “It was wrong of me, I know that now. It won’t happen again. I was foolish before.”

Jaime didn’t reply. If it hadn’t been for Kevin trying to kill himself, then the thought of losing A.J. in the same way wouldn’t have even crossed her mind. Every time he was the slightest bit down, every time anybody was, she would automatically think that they were going to do something. Suddenly, Jaime saw immense pain filling A.J’s face.

“God, why did this have to happen?” he asked, sobs wracking his body, “Why?” he repeated, feeling partially responsible for Kevin’s downfall.

Jaime pulled A.J. close to her, hugging him tightly to try and calm the man down. She had no answers to his questions though. She didn’t know why it had happened other than Kevin saying that he couldn’t deal with things anymore. She sighed. So much for getting her mind off of things.

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Anna looked around cautiously before quickly slipping into the ICU. The doctors had kept her out for over a day now and she wouldn’t take ‘no’ to seeing Kevin one more time. She was going to take things into her own hands. She had to see him and that’s exactly what she was going to do. She figured that just maybe being able to see him would make her see that he wasn’t as bad as the doctor was telling her and her friends the whole time.

Anna silently walked around, hoping that she wouldn’t be noticed. She looked from bed to bed wondering when she would find Kevin. She wondered if he was even in ICU, or if they’d taken him somewhere else.

“Can I help you miss,” A woman asked, causing Anna to jump. She spun around and faced a young nurse who looked to be I her mid twenties.

“I’m just visiting my boyfriend,” Anna softly said, wiping a tear from her eye. The nurse gave her a soft smile and walked away. Anna breathed a sigh of relief that she hadn’t been questioned any further. Anna knew she would have slipped.

Anna took a deep breath before venturing off further into the room. The beeps of machinery echoed throughout the room, which was so silent otherwise that it was bone chilling. Anna saw the way some of the people looked and swallowed hard. She knew that the majority had just come out of surgery. They looked terrible though. There were nurses doing rounds at every bedside to check on the patients. Anna zigzagged through the scattered rows of beds and didn’t see Kevin once. She sighed in defeat, wondering where he could be. Looking around, one last time, she was about to give up with something caught her eye. Doing a double take, Anna saw a small room in the back corner with the door open a crack. Quickly walking over, she saw windows surrounding the room. With her heart accelerating, Anna reached it, peering inside. There was a nurse by the bed tending to somebody, but she was standing in the way, covering their face. When the nurse turned around to leave, Anna quickly ducked behind a cart, waiting until the lady closed the door and disappeared from view. Doing a quick look around, she stood up and opened the door, slipping inside. She sure hoped that it was Kevin. If not, she would feel foolish. Closing the door behind her, Anna noticed IV’s in various places. She could hear the bleeping of a heart monitor, a buzzing of something else. Slowly walking up to the bed, she recognized the black hair and strong facial bone structure of the persons face before she got there, knowing that it was definitely Kevin. Anna wondered why he was in a small room by himself. She wondered if it was just because he was famous, or because the doctor had been right and Kevin was really bad off. Walking closer, Anna could see that he’d been changed into one of the cheesy paper hospital gowns. There was a thin blanket covering him, his arms on top of it laying at his sides. Anna looked down at him. He looked the same as he always had to her. He looked as if he were just sleeping, and he was. He was in a deep, comatose sleep. Anna reached out and took his hand in hers, rubbing it softly.

“Hi baby,” she said softly.

Anna wasn’t sure what else to say. She wasn’t even sure if he could hear her. She looked around, his heart monitor catching her eye. The signal looked to be weak, but it was there. That was good enough for her. As long as it at least stayed the same for the time being, getting stronger over time, she would be able to stay positive.

“I love you so much,” she spoke, “I don’t know why you had to try to do such a stupid thing.”

Anna’s voice trailed off. Actually seeing Kevin was helping her out a little. She could see though why he was in a room by himself. His condition, although it didn’t look it from appearance, was worse than the others. Besides, he was in a coma. The others were just recovering from surgery. They would wake up within a few hours and be taken to their very own hospital room. Nobody knew when Kevin would wake up. He would be staying right there for a very long time.

“Everybody misses you,” Anna said, speaking again, “We’re all worried sick. Please don’t die on us. You’ve gone through so much already. You haven’t made it this far for nothing.”

Anna sighed. She felt foolish. She felt as if she were talking to herself. Talking to thin air. She was surprised that she hadn’t been caught yet. She was, after all, going against hospital policy and breaking several rules.

“I had to sneak in here to see you,” Anna said with a small laugh, looking down and seeing Kevin completely unresponsive, “If that doesn’t tell ya how much I care, I don’t know what will. If I get caught and am banned from the hospital for this, you’ll know what happened if I don’t come back for a long while.”

Anna didn’t know what else to say to the man, so she just stood, holding his hand and looking at him. He looked so peaceful and beautiful to her. She hadn’t seen him look so relaxed as he did then ever. She hated that he looked that way for the first time to her under the circumstances. When he woke up though, she knew that she’d see him look just as relaxed. Anna was so into watching Kevin that she didn’t even hear the door opening behind her.

“What’s going on in here?” a voice asked sternly.

Anna whipped around. She was face to face with the nurse she’d encountered earlier before she’d found him.

“It…this is my boyfriend,” she explained.

Anna saw sympathy fill the young woman’s eyes. She knew that she was felt sorry for. It wasn’t every day that your boyfriend was in ICU for something like what Kevin was there for. “I know I shouldn’t be here,” Anna quickly stated, beginning to panic, “I had to see him though.”

“I understand,” the nurse replied kindly, “But I can’t let you stay. I could lose my job. You understand that, right?”

Anna nodded. She supposed that she could. She wouldn’t want the nice nurse to lose her job because of her.

“Can I at least say goodbye?” Anna asked.

“Yes, but make it quick.” The nurse said, “Within a few days, if Mr. Richardson is still doing okay, then you can visit him as much as you like…within reason, that is. That is, the visitor rules are ten minutes every hour during visiting hours, which are six in the morning until ten at night.”

Anna smiled tightly. That didn’t help her at the moment. She turned her head to look back at Kevin. She realized that she hadn’t let go of his hand the entire time. She squeezed it lightly.

“I have to go now,” she said, “I’ll be back by your side as soon as I can though. I promise. I love you, Kevin.” She looked back at the nurse, who was waiting patiently behind her to escort her out, “Bye baby.”

Anna bent down and lightly kissed Kevin’s forehead. Letting go of his hand, she looked down at him one last time before turning around and walking out of the room. The nurse followed closely behind her, closing the door tightly.

“I’m sorry that I had to do that,” she apologized, “If it were up to me, I would have let you stay. I have to follow Dr. Newton’s orders though.”

“Is that Kevin’s doctor?” she asked.

The nurse nodded, “I’m Angela, by the way,” she said.

“I’m Anna,” Anna told her, “From your point of
view, do you think that Kevin will make it?”

Angela sighed, biting her lip a little. Anna wasn’t sure if Angela didn’t want to give her bad news, or was thinking on how to answer.

“Technically, I’m not authorized to give out information based on patients. That’s the doctor’s call. But from what I see several times every day, in my opinion, if he weren’t going to make it, then he wouldn’t still be alive.”

Anna breathed a sigh of relief. Angela’s confidence meant the world to her. She looked over and saw the girl looking at her seriously. Anna had a question that she was dying to ask. It’d been on her mind constantly since Kevin had been stated to be in a coma.

“Kevin’s months of therapy,” she began, worry on her face, “Will he have to start all over again if and when he does wake up?”

Angela shook her head, “We’ll have a physical therapist coming in to work with him while he is here. In a coma or not, he’ll need it. Especially since he’s got two things going against him now. It will help to keep him from becoming stiff.”

Anna was glad that Kevin’s hard work wouldn’t be for nothing. He was still strong and built on the upper portion of his body. She knew though that without a little bit of something, his muscle would disappear. His life’s worth of hard work would be gone. Anna hoped that Kevin wasn’t asleep for long or else he would get to that point, and he’d become even more depressed.

“Don’t tell anybody that I told you what I did,” Angela said, “I’m not supposed to, but, I have a lot more contact with the patients than Newton does. I see what goes on. He, to be bluntly honest, doesn’t see the majority of the things that go on in here.”

“I promise that I wont,” Anna replied, knowing that she would have to keep it. There were six people who would want to know how Kevin was, but she would have to keep her mouth shut despite how anxious she would be to tell them what she knew.

“You also have to not tell anybody that you saw him,” the nurse added, “Everybody will get their chance sooner or later. It’s better not to get everyone worked up. Besides, if it leaks out and gets to Newton, which it will. Somebody will slip. Anyways, it could get all of you banned from the hospital.”

Anna nodded. It was one thing more added to the list of things that she’d have to keep from the other people that cared about Kevin. She knew she could do it though, as much as she thought that they deserved to know. She knew that he would be okay, or probably would be.

“Thank you,” Anna said to Angela when they’d reached the doors exiting ICU, “It meant a lot to me to see him.”

“Your welcome,” Angela replied with a warm smile, “I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of each other in the next few weeks, or even months possibly. If you need anything, just let me know. I work second shift here, so you’ll know when to find me.”

Anna gave a small smile, thanking her again and leaving. She had a feeling that she’d just made a friend in the nurse. Her kind words stuck in Anna’s head as she walked back to the waiting room to rejoin everyone else. Now all she’d have to do was think of an excuse for her being absent for so long because she knew that somebody would ask
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