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Kevin walked into the apartment a little after 1am. Every single light was on in the place. Every one, not even an exaggeration. The kitchen was a glow not only with the main light but also the one over the oven. The bathroom light was on as well as the bedroom and the living room.

In the living room the glow of the TV was also adding light to the room as well as the power button on the stereo where Journey’s Frontiers was blaring through the speakers. Kevin shook his head and moved quickly to the stereo which was a little too loud for this time of night. The last thing he needed was for a neighbor to complain about the noise.

There he saw Nick lying in a ball on the floor sound asleep gripping onto what was definitely some kind of stuffed animal. He had a game controller in his hand and the television remote was under his head as was one of Brian’s shirts crumpled up as a make shift pillow. A half eaten bowl of microwave popcorn spilled next to him where his lanky legs had knocked it over.

Kevin couldn’t help but smile at the scene almost wanting to go grab a camera and take a picture. Sometimes the kid was too cute but he would never openly admit that to anyone. Never ever.

He moved behind Nick and gently grabbed the controller out of his hand and switched the game off. “How much popcorn can one person eat?” He whispered as he turned the bowl right side up and cleaned the excess kernels off the floor.

He didn’t intend to stay so long at Kristin’s but with the parents already asleep and alone time in such scarce demand, things just had a way of happening. Boy how he missed her. He never really let it sink in until he got the chance to steal a few moments away to be with her.

He thought Howie would have been home in only moments after he left and now seeing the light on in the bedroom and no sign of Howie anywhere he felt really bad for leaving Nick all alone for as long as he did. Time just had a way of escaping him when he was with Kris.

Sitting down on the couch he placed the bowl on the coffee table and removed his shoes. Love making always had a way of exhausting him. Kevin grabbed the blanket hung over the couch and laid it on top of the sleeping boy who didn’t even budge. Then he tried his best to get the remote from under Nick’s head without waking him.

The attempt was unsuccessful as Nick rolled over and sprung to a sitting up position.

“Don’t eat me!” He shouted causing Kevin to jump himself.

“Don’t eat you?” It took a second for Nick to become aware of his surroundings then he smiled, “Oh hey Kevin…I was just watching TV”

“Oh because it looked a lot like you were sleeping to me”

“Nah” Kevin got a better look at the stuffed dog now that Nick wasn’t blocking his view of the toy. When Nick saw Kevin looking he quickly pushed it under the blanket in embarrassment.

As to avoid further embarrassing the blonde he pretended not to notice. “So why did you think I was going to eat you?”

Nick shrugged and stood up plopping onto the couch. “You know what I noticed about you Nicky? You don’t sit you plop”

“So how was Kris?” he asked, ignoring Kevin’s statement.

“She’s good, sends her love to you”

“Excellent” He yawned, “So what time is it?”

“I thought you were awake; then you should know shouldn’t you?”

“Kev just answer the question”

Kevin smiled, “A little after 1. Look I’m sorry you were alone this whole time. I really thought Howie would have been back”

“He called right after you left and said he was spending the night at home”

“Did you tell him you were alone?”

“Yeah but I told him I was a big boy and not to worry”

“What did he say?”

“He said okay but if I needed anything to call him”

“Did you?”

“Nah…I told you Kevin, I am used to being alone. It was no big deal” Kevin turned his head to look around at all of the lights on in the house, “It’s just I noticed all the lights were on”

“Oh sorry I’m really bad at remembering to turn those things off”

“And the radio and the TV were…”

“Okay so I was a tiny bit freaked out okay? Is that what you wanted to hear?” He was whiny and hoarse.

“No, I just wanted to apologize again that’s all”

“I just thought I heard some noises coming from outside”

“It’s no biggie”

“So did you and Kris you know….do the nasty?”

“That is none of your business kid!” Kevin said turning on the TV to a rerun of Bonanza of all things.

“Oooh you SO did! Awesome” Kevin laughed and ignored him and all was quiet until the commercial break.

“Did you have a dream that something was trying to eat you?”

“Yeah…A huge kernel of popcorn. He was chasing after me with a thing of butter”

Kevin laughed, “Well if you eat anymore of this stuff you’re going to start looking like popcorn”

“Kevin that joke is SO old! It’s almost as old as you!” Kevin bat Nick upside the head and the younger one chuckled and once again yawned.

“Why don’t you go to sleep lil man? You actually have a choice of beds. Howie’s or Brian’s

“Are you going to bed?”

“In a little bit, I’m just going to watch some TV first”

“You know you won’t be able to wake up for rehearsal in the morning” Nick said stretching out on the couch next to Kevin.

“I’m used to only going on about 6 hours of sleep”

“Yeah” He said closing his eyes.

“Nick it’s obvious you are tired go to bed. I’ll be in soon”

Now Nick shifted to lie his head against Kevin’s shoulder, “I’ll just wait till you’re done” Knowing the kid just didn’t want to be alone any longer Kevin shut off the TV and helped walk a half asleep Nick to bed.

Leaving the mess there for a morning clean up.


~*~*~*~*~*~*


Another rushed morning found Kevin flinging a pop tart at Nick as he hurried to get himself looking semi decent. He had big plans for the morning. A nice hot shower followed by a good morning call to his girlfriend.

Waking up almost thirty minutes after the alarm clock changed all of that.

They had just fifteen minutes to get ready before Denise honked for them. “Eat Nick!” Kevin nagged as he brushed through his hair with some gel. He only had time to stick his entire head under the faucet.

“I’m not really hungry, my stomach hurts”

“Probably because you ate all that junk yesterday. You should eat because Lord knows when we’ll get time during the day”

“Aren’t you going to eat?”

“Uh huh” He said taking a bite of a granola bar as he passed the table in a rush.

“This place is a mess”

“We’ll clean it when we get back” Nick said as if he’d actually help. He had a milk moustache now from chugging it down until it was gone. Finishing off with a huge burp.

“That’s gross”

“Excuse me”

“Nick get your butt moving! God you haven’t even gotten dressed yet?”

“You said you can function on 6 hours of sleep. My ASS you can. You are grouchy”

“That’s only because we’re running late…get dressed!” He actually yelled at the kid now sounding very much like his father trying to usher three boys out of the door to school. Kevin liked to lag behind when he was a kid, knowing full well that he had to be to school later then his older brothers whose school day started almost a half hour earlier then his.

What he always seemed to forget was that dad had to bring them all to school at once no matter if they weren’t actually attending the same school or not. So most days his two older brothers would be waiting in the car ready to go off to high school while dad yelled up the steps at Kevin to hurry his rump along. The honking out the window pulled Kevin away from memory lane, “Shit! Nick hurry up! She’s here already!”

He hated making Denise wait because as much as he liked her he also felt like she always pulled apart everything he did. When the teen didn’t answer he went and rapped on the door, “Nick come on we’re late!”

“I don’t feel good” Came the very familiar reply. Boy he was tired of that excuse. It seemed a popular one for Mr. Carter. Whenever he didn’t feel like doing something he said he felt sick. The most popular cop out in the book, “Well I’m sorry but we have to go so come on!”

That finally got the kid out of the room and thankfully fully dressed. His hair was a mess but who cared. “Just let me go to the bathroom”

“Nick we don’t have time”

“I’ll end up peeing all over her car” He yelled back, that temper of his shining through.

“Fine” He said as he heard someone trotting up the steps. Great she sent in reinforcements! There was a click as the door unlocked followed by Brian, “Didn’t you hear us beeping?”

Kevin nodded and pointed to the bathroom, “Just waiting for pee boy to finish”

“Pee boy?” Brian seemed amused.

“Nick let’s go buddy!” This time it was Brian yelling at the door. “Lou will be pissed if we’re late”

“No shit hang on I’ll be out in a minute!”

“Uh oh someone’s cranky today”

Kevin laughed under his breath, “When isn’t he Rok? He said he doesn’t feel good” Brian rolled his eyes just as the toilet flushed.

Out walked Nick looking a little neater. He had taken a minute and put a hat on, “What are you doing here?”

Brian answered the question by pointing at his watch, “Times a ticking my little Kemosabi!”

“Well I’m almost done. I just have to put on my sneakers, anyone know where they are?”

“I swear to God we are going to staple those things to your feet Nick” Kevin said literally running around the apartment searching for the sneakers. Once again Denise started beeping, “She’s annoyed… that’s her I’m getting annoyed beep”

“Damit Nick where the hell are they?”

“I don’t know. I don’t remember where I put them” Now all three boys were frantically searching the place. “Just wear another pair”

“I only brought the one pair with me”

“Well that was dumb” Brian said in fun but Nick took it to heart, really getting visibly upset.

“Relax Nick I’m only joking”

“Whatever…now we’ll be really late and Lou will blame me” Kevin at this point was in the living room and picked up the blanket from the floor. The stuffed dog went sailing but luckily so did the shoes, “Found them” He said throwing them across the room towards Nick.

“What’s with the stuffed dog?”

Nick went and grabbed the shoes and put them on, quickly moving the dog out of view, “I don’t know” He outwardly lied but they didn’t have time to press. Kevin without thinking said, “He was sleeping with it last night”

Then another honk was heard, “If she sends someone up after me that’s not good”

“Let’s go guys”

Nick sat on his chair motionless for a second, “Nick let’s go”

“I’m not going I don’t feel good”

“Excuse me?” Kevin turned to the kid who just sat there with one shoe on and one shoe in his hand.

“I said I’m not going. I don’t feel good today” Kevin probably didn’t think wisely canceling his mother’s usually calm voice out of his head and instead his father took over. He did exactly what his father would have done to him in this situation; at least if dad thought he was faking an illness and making everyone late.

He walked over to Nick and grabbed him over his shoulder, one shoe on and one shoe still in his hand, “We don’t have time for this Carter let’s go”

“Get the hell off of me” He said hitting at Kevin with his sneaker, while Brian laughed, “Shut the lights Rok we already will have a huge ass bill after yesterday” He said walking out the door with a pissed Nick over his shoulder.
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