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Even though he would NEVER tell his mother about what he had done to Nick’s poor Gameboy, he might as well have because she was screaming at him all night. Sometimes the mother that followed him around in his head was much worse then his real one.

Anne Richardson was as sweet as Apple pie on a warm summer day. He liked that description best which came from one of his neighbors. He had overheard her talking to someone on the phone while she cut her rose bushes. At first he stopped ready to defend his mom but when he heard the words he smiled so wide and bright at the pride those words held for him; the son of a perfect mother.

She did describe his mom to a tee because she was an angel and he loved her to death! But she was also a mom and part of that job was to be stern and strict and if anything, Anne Richardson was stern and strict when she wanted to be.

When that Gameboy shattered he heard her voice instantly inside of his head. Telling him how badly he had handled the situation. “Never grab a toy out of a child’s hand…NEVER! Then throw it at him? Not a good thing to do at all Kevin Scott Richardson. You need to do something to make it up to that child and I’m not talking about just buying him another one. Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is your time”

So with that imaginary scolding in mind Kevin approached Nick the next day during breakfast. Since they had stayed up so late the night before, they managed to wake up late and rushed.

Brian was in charge of setting the alarm clock and making sure everyone was up since the one small nightstand they had in the bedroom happened to be on his side of the room. When the alarm went of this time around, Brian made the mistake of shutting if off instead of hitting the snooze button.

Luckily Howie’s bladder was on a clock all its own and his shout of “Shit!” Woke everyone in the apartment up with a start.

There they were scurrying around the apartment trying to get ready before they heard the beep of Denise’s horn ready to pick them up. Kevin took a second to walk over to Nick who was busily tying his shoe laces.

“Hey” At first he didn’t even look up, he answered with his head down while he switched feet.

“I never got you a Gameboy last night, I tried but they were all out”

Now Nick stood up, looking for something.

“What are you looking for?”

“My backpack, have you seen it?” Kevin walked over by the couch and lifted it off of the floor handing it over to Nick he tried to continue, “Anyway the store was out of it and the other one was closed”

“Thanks” Nick said taking the backpack and placing it on his shoulder.

“Sure no problem, but I will get you one I promise”

“Okay…yeah cool…whatever man”

“She’s here” Brian said turning from the window and putting on his sunglasses. A few seconds later the blare of the horn confirmed Brian’s statement.

Kevin had wanted to make his little invitation to Nick in the morning, he had it all mapped out in his head how he was going to approach the situation and how cool he would come off to the kid. But the oversleeping put a damper on his plans. He would tell him when they got back or if they were lucky when they had a break in the day.


He was silly to think there would be a break, there seldom way anymore. All they had time to do on their breaks was run to the bathroom or if they were really lucky, sit down for a few minutes.

Time found them back at the apartment around 5ish. They had such a great rehearsal they were let go a little early. Thanking God for the small blessing, they tore out of there. Now once again Kevin found himself approaching Nick. Walking into the living room he sat down on the recliner opposite the TV. The most in demand seat in the house. It was one of those rocking recliners and he loved doing just that, rocking back and forth before finally putting his legs up in serious watching TV position.

One thing he really figured out about Nick pretty early on is that he wasn’t happy unless part of his body was resting on someone else’s. Kind of like a puppy or an overly friendly cat. This time the someone else was his cousin, who was watching TV while Nick slouched into him. It looked almost natural like Nick was one of those Siamese twins. Brian sat unfazed by the extra weight on him.

Nick did that with everyone, well almost everyone. In the brief time they had been together he had seen the kid cuddle on everyone from Howie to even Lou!

The only two people he hadn’t done that to yet were Johnny and himself. Nick had attempted to lay his head on Kevin’s shoulder once towards the very beginning but all it took was a small push away followed by an annoyed grunt for him to never try again. Kevin had always felt bad about that but he also liked his personal space. That’s just how he was.

“Long day huh?” Both Brian and Nick looked over at him, one smiled the other nodded.

“I’m kind of glad they let us leave early” He now moved into his reclining position.

“Yeah me too” Brian said flipping over to the Cartoon Network.

“So….I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go to a movie tonight lil man? Just you and me”

Nick looked over at Kevin, “Are you talking to Brian?”

“Do I call him little man?”

“No…but... me? You want to go to a move with…me?”

“Yeah why not? I mean we have an early night I thought maybe we could go and see something, possibly go out for a slice of pizza first”


“Of course really”

“But why? I mean no offense or anything Kev, but you most of the time act like you hate me”

“I don’t hate you kiddo. How many times do I have to tell you that?”

“Okay fine…not hate but not like either” Kevin was beginning to think maybe his mother was wrong. Even though it wasn’t his mother at all; just him doing what he was sure his mother would want him to do no; INSIST that he do.

“Nicky, I know I am tough on you sometimes but I don’t hate you…come on…what do you say?”

“Can Brian come?”

“Aww sorry buddy but I am supposed to go over AJ’s for the night actually” Now Nick sat up finally freeing Brian’s left hand. “You are?”

“Yup, I forgot about it earlier but Denise invited me over for dinner and said I might as well sleep over”

“Oh” The look of disappointment on Nick’s face was so evident it made Brian uncomfortable. He pat his friend on the back, “I’m sure she just forgot you were here you know? Probably so used to you going home”

“Oh…it doesn’t matter, I hate her cooking anyway” Brian laughed and so did Nick trying to play it up as if he wasn’t hurt.

“Speaking of which, I should really go get a bag together” He stood up and let Nick fall over onto the couch. Kevin sacrificed his chair to move next to Nick to continue their conversation.

“If it makes you feel any better I wasn’t invited either” He whispered into Nick’s ear.

“Yeah but we already know she doesn’t like you” He smiled at Kevin. “I bet she invited Howie over”

“Well then he happily declined” Howie had decided to spend the night at home.

“They’re lucky you know? AJ and Howie. They can go home whenever they want” Kevin slouched on the couch now placing his feet on the coffee table. It wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the chair but it wasn’t that bad either.

“Yeah I know they are, but we can have fun to. So what do you say?”

“What about Kristin? This would probably be a good time for you to see her unless she’s busy doing something” Kevin looked away briefly, the first thing he intended to do when he found out he had his night free was to call Kris and see if she could get time off and see him. He didn’t though, after hearing from Howie how homesick Nick was.

“I didn’t call her. I wanted to hang with you. If you don’t want to go with me, I’ll give her a call”

He finally looked over at Kevin and smiled. “I would like that very much”

Kevin returned the smile, “Good I’m glad, I thought I was going to have to beg” Nick laughed. “So what are we going to see?” Kevin shrugged flipping off the Cartoon Network and putting on Jeopardy.

“I don’t really care. You can pick I guess”

“Can we go see an R rated movie?”

“I’d feel a little better with PG 13 Nick. I don’t want your mom to kick my ass”

“She wouldn’t care” He slouched down on the couch and put his small feet next to Kevin’s.

“Sure she would”

“No she wouldn’t that would involve her calling here and finding out and she won’t do that”

“Aww Nick come on…”

“I heard you guys talking about me and my family the other night” Kevin muted the TV and turned his body towards Nick, who saw the movement out of the corner of his eye but didn’t bother to make eye contact.

“You know… when I was in the bedroom, those walls are pretty thin. I know you guys think my family is horrible”

“Nick we don’t think that”

“Yeah you do but its okay, I’m used to it. If you only knew how many times I have heard people talking about my family Kevin, calling them everything from trailer trash to the stupidest country bumpkins ever. I’ve heard it all” He didn’t know what to say to that. So he said nothing and listened. Thinking what his reaction would be if he had heard that neighbor say his mom was trailer trash instead of as sweet as apple pie on a warm summer day.

“I was going to come out and say something but why bother right?” This time Nick did look at Kevin and shrugged, “It’s not like it’s going to change anybody’s mind”

“I’m sorry Nick” Was all he could think to say.

“So how about something funny or scary? I could do with something scary” Nick said changing the subject before he got too emotional.

“It doesn’t matter to me little man. You pick and we’ll go with it”

“Okay” He said then turned his attention back to the TV but he also managed to rest his head on Kevin’s shoulder which brought about a smile to Kevin’s face. This time he didn’t shy away from Nick, he instead placed his arm around the boy’s shoulder and squeezed him tight. “You did good son…perfect in fact” He could hear his mother whispering in his ear.
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