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I was anything but entertaining at our little interview. I almost felt bad about it, whenever they asked me a question I would answer with no more than two words at the most. After awhile Kevin would interrupt and take over for me, apologizing because I was under the weather. So I got to sit and listen to the rest of them field the usual barrage of useless questions. Stupid ones like what was our favorite color. Did we get along like brothers? Etc... Nothing we haven’t answered about a million times. Sometimes I wanted to just send these people a pre taped interview with the answers to all of these questions on it. This way we could have some times off to play basketball. Maybe I would suggest that to the guys.
When the interview was over Brian came over to me and placed a hand on my back, “I didn’t know you were sick again”

“I’m not”

“Oh” Both and he and AJ didn’t know I had a tantrum right before we left. Surprisingly it wasn’t brought up in the van ride there. I think Kevin realized bringing it up would set me off again so he chose to ignore me. I was grateful for that. I knew however, that once we got back to the hotel all the questions would come. I didn’t plan on sticking around long enough to answer them. I made up my mind during that interview, that I would go visit Dad and Mike. Tell them about Mom and apologize for anything creepy Mom might have said to either of them. I didn’t know if she had talked to dad or not, but one thing is for sure, if she did she probably wasn’t nice about it.

It was time to turn over a new leaf. Become a new person, Nick Carter the un-Carter. I would miss Bob, but if it meant that I was free of HER! Then I’m sure in the end it would be worth it, besides with my dad and my brother in my life, plus the guys I would hardly even notice she was gone.

“Hello? Where did you travel off to?” Brian was knocking on my head, I guess I kind of zoned out. They were used to it. By then we were already in the van and taking off down the highway back to the hotel. At least I hoped that was where we were going.

“We are done now right? Or do we have something else to do?”

“Wow he can actually talk…imagine that” AJ being sarcastic. Have I mentioned he hates it when I get out of things for being sick? Especially when I’m not sick?

“Leave him alone AJ, he has a lot on his mind” Wow! It was odd to hear Kevin say something like that. I guess witnessing a good old Carter breakdown can do that to somebody. Kevin glanced over at me and gave me an understanding smile. Not that he even knew what was going on, but maybe he thought he did.

“Yeah just like a fish, I guess he can’t think and speak at the same time” “What does that even mean Bone?” Brian asked him half laughing.

“I don’t know…I’m hungry let’s move on” Everyone in the van laughed including me, but one glance over at Kevin made my smile disappear. I knew there was no escaping him once the van came to a stop. I decided to close my eyes and sleep for the rest of the ride.

Sure enough once the van came to a stop and we kind of piled out of there I felt a hand on my shoulder, “We should talk” I heard whispered in my ear.

“There’s really nothing to talk about” I said smiling my famous half smirk that drove the girls wild. Too bad Kev wasn’t a lady because it didn’t work at all on him.

“I think we have plenty to talk about Nick”

“I really need to go call Mike before he makes plans already”

We were at his hotel room door by this point and I sympathetically looked over at Brian to save me but by then I think he sensed that something had happened so he kind of shrugged and walked away from us. Kevin opened his door and we both walked in.

“I promise you will get to see your brother and father soon, I just want to know what happened to get you so worked up before”

“Okay fine…well basically my Mom is a lying bitch and I am done with her and her games”

“Why? What did she lie about?” I started getting restless licking at my bottom lip and shaking my leg.

“Everything Kevin. My whole Damn life has been one big lie” I shook my head and felt the heat rising in my cheeks. I was angry but more hurt.

“How so?”

“She knew about Mike. She always knew where he was. She just chose not to do anything about it” I took a pillow and flung it across the room.

“Nick enough with the flinging okay?” He bit his bottom lip then continued, “So she really knew?”

“Yeah this whole time”

“And what about your dad? What did she say about prison?” That’s why he was so interested. He didn’t care about what happened he just wanted to make sure that he was at least right about one of them.

“I’m done talking about this Kevin. I am going over to Mike’s” I stood up to leave but of course he stood up to, “Nick…I really think you should call your Mom back”

“Never again, I’m done with her”

“You know you don’t mean that”

“Oh yes I do mean that”

“No you don’t. I know she has done some awful things but she is your Mother. Think of how many people can’t say they have a Mother or a father”

“You know it always comes down to you and your father Kevin. I am sorry he died but just because you don’t have a dad anymore doesn’t mean that everyone’s life is so much better than yours” I really didn’t mean that. I felt horrible as the words were leaving my mouth. It’s funny really because whenever I said something stupid, which was often, the only person I ever felt really really guilty for hurting is Kevin; especially now, when it showed so readily on his face.

“Okay fine” He said walking past me and heading for the door.

“Kevin, I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry man”

“Just think about things Nick. Don’t be so irrational” With that being said he walked out the door. I almost ran after him but decided against it. Instead I slammed my body down on my bed and screamed into the pillow I hadn’t thrown across the room.

That made me feel a little better, not a whole lot better but at least enough to call Mike’s without sounding like I was about to jump off a bridge. My dad picked up after the third ring and said that Mike was out but he would be more than happy to hang out with me. He even said he wanted to walk me there. I told him that’s why I have a security guard to which he laughed and said I’ll see you in a little while; followed by the nugget I really desired to hear. I love you son.

See? That was all the proof I needed to know I could easily live a life without Jane. At least I had one parent who loved me and accepted me for Nick the person, not seeing dollar signs in his eyes. Mike and my father were the real deal. I called down to my security and about fifteen minutes after that we were on our way to Mike’s.

John put the phone down and smiled. He was slowly gaining his youngest sons trust and affection. For a brief moment he forgot that he even had ulterior motives. He was just happy that Nick was back in his life; that was until he looked over at the new couch he had bought for Mike. It was burgundy with big plush pillows. The perfect couch to sleep on. Mike would be so surprised when he saw it. He had counted on his son to arrive about an hour ago but as the time passed, he soon began to think that maybe Mikey had made plans without telling him. When he was trying to decide on just the right present for Mike, he figured out that a brand new couch would fit perfectly. The old one he had was sagging in the middle and worn from age, plus extremely uncomfortable to sleep on. He decided if nothing but selfish reasons that if he was going to stay on with his son for a longer period of time, he would need to sleep more comfortably, even though with Nick’s Mac card he could probably score a place of his own he didn’t want to be THAT obvious. So he went with the couch. He was so excited about it, just like in the early days when the boys were young and still believed in Santa. He loved setting things up for them late at night just to see the looks on their faces. He wondered if they ever figured out most of the things they had gotten from Santa were stolen. Probably Mike had figured it out but doubtful that Nick knew. Why? He thought bringing another smile to his face, “Because I am perfect in his eyes”

He heard keys being fumbled around outside the door and decided to go let Mike in. He probably had his hands full with take out, John had hoped as he answered the door awaiting his son’s surprised expression. Instead, when he opened the door he smelled the scent of alcohol on Mike’s breath. It was so strong that it made even John wince.

“Hey dad” Mike said side stepping into the apartment, tripping on his feet and landing with a thud on the floor.

“Son, are you drunk?” Mike laughed.

“Me drunk? Naaaah” He said getting on his hands and knees to try to get himself up. John walked over to help and together they managed to pull him back on his feet.

“I was worried, where have you been?” John asked leading Mike to his brand new couch and sitting him down.

“I was out getting a little drinkie”

“I see that” He looked into his son’s glassy eyes and instantly recognized that glazed over look, “Have you been doing drugs son?”

“Are you the police all of the sudden or something?” Mike laughed after he said that but then immediately stopped when he noticed he was sitting on something brand new. “Where the hell did this thing come from?”

That wasn’t exactly the reaction John was looking for but he was grateful that Mike managed to notice even in the state he was in.

“I bought it for you son. I wanted to surprise you with it”

“How the hell did you afford this dad? Who did you kill to afford this?” He laughed when he said it even though he was only half kidding. Sad as that may be. “I told you I got a job working for this rich old lady. She gave me a bonus”

“What are you having sex with her or something?” He said once again cracking himself up, “Ahhh…sorry dad. I thought it was damned funny”

“Mike, is something bothering you?”

“Naaah what could possibly be bothering me?”

“It’s just that I thought you were done with the drugs”

“Relax old man…it’s hardly drugs. Just some pot, nothing big”

“Even so…”

“I talked to an old friend of yours today dad” Mike sat up straight and tried to moisten his very dry mouth.

John tensed up, thinking Mike had come across one of his gambling buddies or even worse, the guy who had stolen Nick’s credit card. “You did? I don’t know anybody here. It’s probably another John Alexander they were talking about. I wouldn’t even listen to them”

“I talked to Mom” John just sat there frozen, not believing he just heard Mike say that.

“Oh she’s a real sweetie that one. I can see why you left her. What a bitch!” John stopped himself from smiling. “Why do you say that?”

“She doesn’t want Nick to see us again dad. I guess we aren’t good enough for the pop prince or something” The way he said pop prince sounded so hateful, it once again threw John off guard.

“He’s on his way over right now Mike” Mike looked over at his Father, “Nicky?” John nodded.

“I can’t let him see me like this dad” Mike stood up and swayed as he did, “If he sees me like this then he’ll never come back”

“I doubt that is true Mike, unless he’s really as shallow as his Mother” To that Mike got defensive, “Leave Nick alone! He is a good kid who doesn’t deserve that witch for a Mom or a complete loser like me for a brother. Maybe Jane is right, maybe he is better without me” Before John could say something consoling or conniving to Mike, there was a knock on the door. Mike looked at his dad, “I’m going to the bathroom, just tell him I’m not here okay?” John nodded. “Okay but you have to come out of there at some point”

“No I don’t” Mike said holding the wall and leading himself towards the bathroom. Once safely inside, John opened the door. Nick was standing in front of him holding his arms across his chest to keep himself warm.

“I thought you weren’t going to answer for a minute there” He said half smiling.

“Sorry, I was in the bathroom, come in Nicky” He said immediately grabbing his son in a big bear hug.

“Wow nice couch”

“Yes it is, I bought if for Mike” Actually YOU bought it for Mike briefly ran through John’s mind which luckily he didn’t verbalize. Nick walked over and sat on it, “Oooh very nice…so is Mike not home yet?”

“Actually no…want to go for a walk? Maybe go get a cup of coffee or something? I do owe you a dinner remember?” John raised his eyebrow at his son hoping he would take the bait and want to leave so he could use Mike’s episode to his advantage. He felt bad doing it, but he would share the wealth with Mike when this was all over with.

“Sure dad that would be nice”

“Great let me just go get my coat and then we can go” John walked over towards the bedroom and whispered into the bathroom door, “Nick and I are going out for a little bit”

“Okay” Mike said very softly. “Have fun”

“We will”

I really still would have felt better if Mike was home, not that I don’t like my dad or anything but we just weren’t at the point where I felt comfortable being alone with him. Maybe this little trip out would help. I thought I was hearing things for a minute when my dad left to get his coat, but then I heard it again, it was Mike’s voice. He was home but for some reason avoiding me. It was my Mom’s fault I bet. She had finally convinced him to stay away from me. I started to panic just thinking about that and stood up to make my way over to the bedroom to find out what the hell was going on.

My father came out two seconds later with his coat, “Are you ready kiddo?” I wasn’t sure if I should bring up Mike or not so I just nodded but looked over at the bathroom door. “Why is the bathroom door closed?” I asked knowing full well it was because Mike was hiding in there. My dad wrapped his arm around me, “I’ll tell you on the way”

So many thoughts were running through my head, maybe this walk was the get out of our lives walk. Maybe Mike hated me so much that he didn’t even want to come out and say good bye. Maybe that was my Father’s job. I was just waiting to hear him say it. I even braced myself for it.

“You asked why the bathroom door was closed” My father started to say. Here it comes…

“Mike was in there, he didn’t want you to see him in the condition he was in” I stopped walking, “Condition? What condition? Is he alright? Did something happen?”

My dad pulled me close to him then, placing his hands on both of my shoulders and looking me in the eyes, “Son…I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this, but Mike is a drug addict”

I felt my whole world crash down in just one sentence.

Email: marrbop@aol.com