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John felt bad when he saw the look of pain run across Nick’s face. He had to do it though, use this to his advantage in some way. “But…I knew he did pot every once in awhile. He said he used to do a lot of drugs. I thought he was clean now” Nick leaned his back against the wall of the building they had stopped next to. His security guard hanging slightly back. It made John uneasy knowing the man was hearing every word uttered between the two.

“Yes, but it’s gotten bad. He drinks and does all sorts of drugs. Cocaine, heroine, crack…you name it and he has tried it. That’s the real reason I am here son. To help him” Nick looked up at his Father.

“I had no idea”

“It’s terrible really, he never really got over things when your Mom and I split Nick. He always felt abandoned by her. It took it’s toll after awhile. She actually talked to him today”

“I know she did…I talked to her too. I was coming to tell you guys that I cut her out of my life” To that John, stepped back. “You did?”

Nick only nodded with his head hung down.

“Why?” He placed a consoling hand on Nick’s shoulder. Turns out he didn’t have to work as hard as he thought he would with his youngest son. Part of his plan was to turn the kid against his Mother but seems she had done that all by herself.

“She told me…” John watched his son as he tried to find the right words, “She just told me some things that made me realize my life would be better without her in it”

“I’m sorry to hear that son, I really am” And he really was. The hurt in his son’s voice was almost unbearable, but yet here he was ready to totally devastate him further. It made no sense but just like his Father had passed on to him, you always have to look out for number one. If you don’t, then eventually you will be the one left in the dust, so with that thought in mind, John overcame his moment of weakness and once again kept up his charade. “Nick, maybe it’s for the best that she is gone. You will always have Mike and me…that is if we can clean him up”

“How do we do that? Should we put him into rehab?”

“I don’t know yet, I haven’t figured it out. Those things cost a lot of money. Money I just don’t have” John made sure he put his head down in shame on that line.

“Dad, money is no object. I can help”

“But son…doesn’t your Mom have control of your finances?” The question he had needed answered since he first found out his son was a millionaire.

“Yes” John felt his heart pounding in his chest. This was it, the moment he really had been waiting for, “Well, I doubt she would want to help Mike”

“It doesn’t matter, it’s my money”

“But not if she is in charge of it”

“You know, technically I’m an adult. I am 18 years old, so all I would have to do is get it turned over to me. I never really thought about it before. Management always recommended that we have someone else take care of our finances. I just assumed Mom was the best one to do it”

“I can understand why they said that. It’s a hard job actually…hey if you want me to take over I would be more than happy to” His heart stopped beating. He felt guilty, nervous and exhilarated all at once while he awaited Nick’s answer.

“Maybe…we’ll see, but thanks for the offer. Speaking of which I kind of need to find an ATM machine. I owe Kevin some money” It wasn’t the answer he had hoped for but at least his plan was definitely in play.

“How much do you need? I have some money on me” John almost laughed at the irony that he could easily have been Nick’s ATM machine.

“Kevin bought me a few video games awhile back and now he is kind of reminding me that I never paid him back for them. It’s okay, I’ll just get some money out but thanks”

“Ooh okay, well I know there is a Mac machine right around the corner next to a deli that has the best corned beef sandwich I have ever had” “Ewe! I hate that stuff dad” He laughed, “Just like Mikey”

“Speaking of Mike, will he be okay alone?”

“I think he needs some alone time, but don’t worry he should be just fine. He didn’t want you to see him like that”

“Okay, so he doesn’t hate me then?”

“No, of course not Nick. He loves you” His son smiled when he said that and started once again to walk towards the ATM machine. As they got closer Nick whipped out his wallet rummaging through it turning plastic leaf after leaf hoping to get to just the right card. Once again John froze when he realized the card he was looking for was the one he himself had in his back pocket.

Nick began to look once again this time with a more panicked expression on his face, “Oh my God!” He said as he began searching his jacket pockets, “My card is missing”

“Your ATM card?” John asked as calmly as possible.

“Yes…it was here before, oh NO!” The security guard walked over to Nick, “What’s wrong Nick?” John stepped back and listened as his son explained to his bodyguard what had happened. The bodyguard decided to retrace his steps from Mike’s apartment to the Mac machine just to make double sure it hadn’t fallen out on the walk. John kept a calming arm around his son’s shoulder the whole time. “I can’t lose this card. I just lost one of my credit cards and got hell for it”

“It’ll be alright Nick. It will be found” Within a few minutes, the bodyguard came back letting them know that it hadn’t turned up on the street.

“I am so dead!” He said panicked. John was panicking in his own right. He wasn’t expecting this to happen, not this quickly anyway. He had known that eventually both cards would be noticed missing but not quite so soon. Where it was placed in his wallet he was sure the card wasn’t used all that much. A mistake!

“Nick don’t worry about it. We’ll report it to the police and they will be able to trace if any transactions were made on it. It’ll be okay. Remember when AJ did the same thing?” Nick nodded at his bodyguard, but was still in a state of panic. John was in his own state of panic now. What the man had said about getting the police involved hit home and now he was trying to figure out how to get the card back into his son’s wallet without him noticing.

“Son…let’s go have a nice lunch on me, then maybe we can go back to your place and try to figure things out” He needed to get that damned bodyguard away from his son so he could maybe slip the card somewhere onto Nick’s person without him noticing.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea Nick” The bodyguard said eyeing John suspiciously, which once again made the thief uneasy. “We should go back to the hotel and report the card missing so this way we can close the account” Nick nodded and then looked over towards his father.

“Dad, I’m sorry…tell Mike I said I love him and we’ll figure out what to do about his problem later. I will give you a call”

“Do you want me to come with you son?” He was sincerely hoping that the answer would be yes; even though it would be dangerous he had to get that card back to his son before the police were involved.

“NO that’s really okay. Believe me you won’t want to see the lecture I’m gonna be getting from just about everybody”

“No son seriously let me come back with you. I want to help you through this”

“Dad it’s okay, go be with Mike instead” He grabbed John into a hug during which time He almost was able to get the card into his son’s jacket pocket but he failed. Nick pulled away too quickly. Now he was sunk. As his son walked away from him he broke out into a cold sweat seeing all the millions of dollars he could have made walk away along with his hopes and dreams. There had to be a way to stop this. If he really did go to the police then surely they would see all the transactions made and make the connection…unless. John was disgusted with himself but figured out a way to get out of the crisis but if he was going to, he would have to hurry.

As I walked back towards my hotel room I dreaded the lecture I would be getting, of course it was no one’s business whether I had lost my cards or not, but the oddest thing happened when it concerned me. Everyone made it their business. I swear to God if I shit then at least thirty people knew about it. At least one thing I didn’t have to worry about was having my Mom find out. Boy she would have screamed her head off at me. I couldn’t spend all my time worrying about this anyway; I had bigger things to worry about. I was sure that within time they would find my card somewhere, maybe even lying in the tour bus or something. I had my brother to think about. My brother the drug addict? He didn’t act like an addict, not that I knew what an addict acted like or anything but he seemed too together to be one.

I was hoping Brian wouldn’t be in my room when I got back but he was. He was sitting on his bed talking on the phone. I kind of went over to our corner of stuff as we liked to call it. A corner of pretty much every room we ever shared together which contained all of our fun stuff. Basketballs, baseballs and gloves, video games etc… I grabbed a basketball from the pile and sat on my bed dribbling it, trying to calm myself and my thoughts down.

Finally after about an hour the guy got off the phone. Boy Rok sure loved to talk on the phone. To anybody; chances are he didn’t even know who he was talking to. It was probably a wrong number.

“Mom says hello” He said winking at me, “Why are you back already? I thought you were going to Mike’s”

“He wasn’t home and besides I kind of lost something” Oh yeah maybe another reason everyone always knows my business is because I can’t ever keep my mouth shut!

Brian sat up and smiled, “Lost something? Okay what did you lose now?”

“My Mac card” I grimaced. He shook his head and laughed, “Kaos you are something else you know that?”

“I don’t know where it went”

“You have to be more careful Nick, seriously”

“I know please no lecture Brian, I have other things on my mind” I don’t know what it was about him, but I felt the need to tell him everything ALL the time. Even when I have no intention of saying anything it pours out of me. So of course I told him all about Mike and his drug problem and told him if he told anyone I would never speak to him again. He just sat and listened; creeping closer to me as I talked until eventually he was right next to me.

“Nick I am so sorry to hear about all of that. I really am” He sounded sincere enough, but I couldn’t help but think that somewhere there was an I told you so ready to make it’s way out of his mouth.

“I just hope he is okay” I said once again bouncing the basketball on the gray carpet of our hotel room.

“I’m sure he will be fine especially if your dad is there for him” I nodded, I’m sure that dad was going to take good care of Mike and together we would get him through any rough times he might encounter.

John made his way back into the apartment trying to be as quiet as possible. He looked around for Mike and let out a sigh of relief when he heard snoring coming from the bedroom. He tip toed over to take a look and sure enough his son was passed out on the bed lying face down with his feet dangling off the end. He still had his shoes on and was fully dressed. John crept over to Mike’s jacket and grabbed it. Walking out of the room he removed his own jacket and placed Mike’s on instead and then ventured back outside to the ATM machine for one last withdrawal before the card was frozen. As he got closer he placed his hood on once more, careful to shield his face from the cameras overhead. He felt horrible for what he was about to do, but that was life. He walked over to the ATM and withdrew $2,000.

Kevin paced back and forth in front of me for like the hundredth time. See? I told you, they just kind of find out. I know for a fact it wasn’t Brian who told him because Brian never left the room not even once, but yet within about ten minutes after I had confessed all to Brian about Mike, Kevin waltzed in proclaiming, “So, I heard you lost your ATM card….AGAIN!”

I sarcastically as possible explained to him that technically he was wrong since the last thing I lost was a credit card and not an ATM card but he didn’t much care for my attitude, or so he said. I think he was probably still annoyed with my earlier remarks to him, for which I still wanted to apologize. It’s hard to apologize when you have someone lecturing you though. And that is what he was doing.

“You have got to be careful Nick. You can’t take these things for granted”

“I know”

“I mean, we’re not talking about an account with ten bucks in it”

“Kevin, I know”

“Now all this person has to do is figure out your PIN number and you are screwed!”

“They could use it as a credit card, don’t forget that” Thanks AJ, he made sure to remind Kevin of that. I wasn’t about to tell them that I had written my PIN number on the back. God I can only imagine how long that lecture would have been.

“You all need to be more responsible” Kevin looked over at AJ, “You too!”

“Me? What did I do?”

“You have lost your card more than once too if I recall” Ron, the bodyguard who accompanied me came in only making things worse. “Well, it seems like there have been several withdrawls from your account in the last few days” Kevin raised his eyebrows at me.

“Really?” I was trying to think, had I maybe used the card? But to be honest I couldn’t remember the last time I had used it.

“Yup and I mean a lot!”

“How much is a lot?” Kevin asked walking towards Ron to look at the paper in his hand. His eyes got really big when he saw the amount which made my heart jump into my throat. “Over $5,000!!”

“Holy shit! That can’t be right” I said walking over to look at the paper. I grabbed it from them in total disbelief. Sure enough it had said that around $5,210 including ATM fees had been withdrawn from my account. I know it wasn’t me.

“Nick, does your Mom have a copy of that card?” Kevin asked once again taking the paper out of my hands and examining it like it held a clue or something.

“Nope. She doesn’t even know about this account. I opened it when I thought she was being too liberal with her spending of MY money. That card was definitely in my wallet”

“Don’t worry lil man…I’m sure everything will get straightened out” Kevin said patting my back, I am sure he wanted to lecture some more but also noticed I was starting to get upset.

“It looks like the money was mostly drawn from the same location, it shouldn’t be too hard to track then” Ron said to another security person as they looked at the addresses. “Actually it’s really close to here. We’re gonna look into it a little further and let you know what is going on okay Nick?” I nodded at them as they left the room.

“Nick…I know this is going to start another argument but whatever, I have to ask” Brian walked over towards me, funny I knew what he was going to say, it’s something I had briefly thought myself… Briefly.

“Maybe Mike?” He whispered, in hopes that Kevin wouldn’t hear even though he was standing in the room. I didn’t get mad, I mean I had just told him that my brother was a drug addict and of course it only stands to reason that he might have stolen my card, but NO way.

“I don’t think so Brian”

“Okay” He said very quick to drop the subject.

I almost wanted to puke knowing that not only did someone steal my card but had also spent $5,000 and that was just in withdrawls. It had to be a stranger; God please let it have been a stranger.

I couldn’t handle it if Mike stole from me. He would never do that anyway. This made me decide to call my dad. I had told him that I would call him later on. Hopefully he would be able to distract me from this stupid mini drama that was going on.

“Well guys, I’m gonna go call my dad, I left him pretty abruptly when I noticed my card was missing” Both Kevin and Brian nodded at me as I walked out into the hall to talk to my father.