*Thanks as always for the comments and feedback you guys rock my socks!*
I talked to my dad for a few minutes and let him know about my situation. That someone had indeed stolen my card and also spent a lot of money on it. He sounded mad that someone could be so horrible to steal from his son. What I was really hoping was that maybe he would have a clue if Mike had the card. Of course I didn’t want to come right out and ask that. I was pretty positive that Mike would never steal from me anyway. No this had to be the work of a total stranger.
In have to admit I did grow even more suspicious when at the tale end of our conversation my father insisted we go some place to talk; just the two of us, no body guards or anything. He had asked me if that was possible and I said yes; even though I knew I was lying. There was no way security would let me just leave without them. They wouldn’t do that in a small little rural town in the country somewhere. They definitely wouldn’t do it in New York City.
I decided that after some of the things we had to do today, nothing that major just make an appearance here or a quick interview there, that I would try to slip past the guards and meet up with my father.
Lucky for me during this time not much more was said about the missing card. Kevin kind of stayed on his side of the van and slept. I guess he was tired. Howie never tended to lecture me much, not with words anyway, sometimes small little glances from him spoke volumes. Brian, AJ and I just kind of talked about stupid things. Nothing important and for that I was grateful. They had actually both managed to calm me down to the point that I had almost forgotten that I had to sneak out.
“Don’t forget boys, we are only here for another three days before heading back to Orlando to do some heavy duty rehearsing for the concert” I nodded only half listening to Jamie as she spewed off an itinerary to us. Three days didn’t seem long at all. Funny that normally they would have dragged but now that I had a family who I was leaving behind three days seemed too short.
Maybe I could convince the guys that I should stay up here a few more days to stay with Mike. Maybe call it a family emergency. But then I would have to go into details as to why. The last thing I wanted was to tell them about Mike’s problem. I know Brian didn’t say a word. I told him I’d never talk to him again if he said anything to anyone.
Okay I know it was immature but you gotta do whatcha gotta do.
“Okay so you guys actually get to sleep in tomorrow. We don’t have anything scheduled until the late afternoon. So you have some free time gentlemen!”
“Wow a whole freaking half a day…what ever should I do with myself?” AJ answered sarcastically. I laughed but Jamie just scowled. Our management team always did a lot of scowling.
Now I began to feel anxious, knowing if I was going to disappear I would have to fool even Brian. They would all be so incredibly mad at me for doing this, probably even try to ban me from seeing dad and Mike, but if dad wanted to meet in private there had to e a reason. Part of me, maybe already knew what it was, but I didn’t want to admit that to myself just yet. I couldn’t admit that to myself.
I hesitated just a moment while stepping out of the van, part of me wanted to just tell them what I needed to do. It’s not like they could refuse to let me do it. I was 18 and legal. I didn’t have anyone to answer to but myself.
“What?” My eyes quickly diverted from Kevin, I guess I was so caught up in my thoughts that I had been staring at him.
“Nothing” I said biting my lip and trying my hardest to look at anything else but him. He knew he always knew. Kevin could read me better than anyone and that was terrifying sometimes.
“Oh no…please don’t do anything stupid Nick” The guys all laughed.
“Why would you say that?” I asked innocently.
“Because you just look guilty, that’s never a good thing”
“Um…okay” I once again smiled at him but he knew something was up. Damn him!! Now I had no idea how I would do this. No clue at all.
“I need to go to the bathroom” I suddenly blurted out like I was three and was about to pee myself.
“Well run your ass up to the hotel room then” AJ said giving me the oddest look.
“I don’t think I’ll make it. I need to use one in the lobby” Okay well that brought about another you are up to something look from Kevin, which I tried to ignore.
I decided to start hopping from one foot to the other as if to prove the point of how badly I needed to go. “I’ll be back in a minute” I said to them all and before anyone could say another word, I darted to the bathroom in the lobby; not exactly sure of what I would do once inside.
I was so stupid sometimes. So now I managed to get myself stuck in the lobby bathroom knowing full well that at least one person would be waiting for me when I got out. I even went so far as to briefly consider climbing out of the window.
“Nick what are you doing?” I actually screamed when Kevin walked in.
“Okay Nick…level with me, what is going on? You were planning on sneaking out or something?”
I was about to lie again, think of something to say but instead I sighed and told him the truth, well not really the whole truth but enough, “My dad wants to see me”
“He wants me to come alone”
“I don’t know, but I know security would never let me do that”
“You are right and you know why?” Okay here we go…
Before I could answer his hypothetical question he continued, “Because it’s dangerous Nick. That’s why. I’m sure your dad realizes that”
“Kevin….it’s jus that, he specifically said no bodyguards or anything”
“Don’t you find that a little strange buddy? I mean why would he say that?’ Here’s where I needed him to stop asking me questions, we were soon getting to the part I didn’t want to talk about.
“He probably has his reasons”
“So you thought that you would go ahead and sneak on over there and no one would notice?” Kevin laughed at the end of his question making me feel like an idiot.
“Just never mind. I’m an adult and you can’t tell me what to do anymore. My Mom is history. I am leaving to go see my dad, if you don’t like it, tough titties!”
“Tough titties?” He laughed again which really did nothing more than make me mad. “Okay Nick…look… how about I come with you?” Now it was my turn to laugh, “Oh are you my protection now?”
“No, I mean we will still have to bring a bodyguard but I promise we will both stay out of your way while you talk to your dad”
“Really?” He nodded. “Really. I would rather that then you try to sneak out”
“You promise you guys will stay away?” He nodded again.
“Okay then, you have a deal” Kevin misled and pat my head, “How in the world were you even going to try to sneak out of here anyway?” He asked as he opened the door for me.
“No clue, I was thinking about climbing out the window” He laughed as the door behind us slammed shut.
John paced back and forth as he waited for his son to show up. He had gone over his selling points again and again in his head. That is what he was about to do, make a sale. He was always very good at selling things; being a used car salesman was the only real job that John had excelled at. He had a way of turning lemons into gold. Something he was always known for was his smooth talking abilities. Isn’t that how he had won Jane’s heart? He had convinced this woman to drop everything and follow him everywhere he went. At that point he was unemployed, but he made himself sound like a visionary. That’s how he was able to make his first professional con. Convincing Jane’s dad to loan them a substantial amount of money to which he promised to start his own business.
That never happened of course but just like with everything else, he was able to smooth talk his way out of the situation. When the kids came, the smooth talking became harder, simply for the fact that they needed money all the time. That’s when he took to stealing; conning people into helping him out or giving him a loan and then conveniently disappearing when it was time to start repaying them.
Now came the biggest con of his life. To make this work, he had to convince Nick that only he was able to control his finances. No one else; a fact that he thought would be easy considering he seemed as gullible as his mother; when he looked up to see Nick walking alongside two other men though all hope of this sale had come to an end.
Nick walked with his head down as the two others followed closely behind him. Anger was building up inside of John to the point that he wanted to just start shaking and screaming at his stupid son for failing to listen to him. As they got closer though, he had managed to calm himself down and even managed a smile and a nod to the other two men.
“Don’t worry dad, they just came for the walk” Nick said sensing how uncomfortable his father was with the unwanted company.
Now it’s time to turn it on Alexander. Now or Never! He took a deep breath and began his sale…
“Okay son, it’s just because this has to do with your brother and we can’t have people interfering” Nick smiled and nodded at Mike and Kevin who happily stayed away from them as John continued to talk, “Son…I found a great place we can admit your brother to” Nick looked hopeful, “Really?” John feigned a smile, “but there is one thing though Nicky, they need a deposit. It’s a very expensive place in Nevada and I am the only one allowed to admit him” He gingerly put his hand on his son’s shoulder and turned him away from the unwanted company and began to slowly walk up the street. “This place is beautiful Nicky. It has the best doctors and the greatest 24 hour care. Out of all of the places I looked into this one was the tops”
“That’s great dad, did you tell Mike?”
“No not yet, I figured maybe that’s something we could do together. He has been acting weird Nicky, like he is not himself. He went out a little while ago and came back with a lot of money. I don’t know where he’s getting it from but it troubles me”
Nick stopped walking and looked up at his dad, “You don’t think he’s stealing do you?”
“I can’t be sure Nick. There’s really no way to tell” He could tell by looking into his son’s baby blue eyes that he believed the lie.
“What needs to be done?” Nick asked after walking silently for about a half of a block.
“They need the funds placed into an account that they could access every month”
“Oh that should be no problem dad; I can open an acc…”
“No son, I asked about that believe me, but because you are only 18, they said it would have to be in my name for it to work. They wouldn’t settle for anything else” Now his heart was jumping inside his chest. Nick stopped walking once again which troubled John a little.
“How much would you need dad?”
“Well, I’m not sure, I remember you mentioning that maybe you would like me to take over your financial responsibilities?” John turned around to see if the posse was still following and waved when they were.
“Dad…I don’t know I think I may want to just be in charge of my own...”
“Now nick, I don’t want to tell you what to do with your money or anything, hell I have NO right at all to tell you that, but I just think maybe this would work best. This way I could open a joint account in our name along with Mikey and use that money for his treatment”
Now they were standing in front of the apartment building that he and his son lived in. Feeling like he was about to lose his sale he diverted, “I tell you what, I’ll give you time to think about it, but don’t take too long because they will only hold his space for a day or two at the most”
“Okay yeah…I just think it would be good to talk it over with someone. Kevin's really good with things like that”
John licked his lips, “Oh Nicky I don’t think that would be a good idea only because we don’t want people knowing about your brother’s sickness”
“Yeah but Kevin and the guys are different. They wouldn’t tell anyone”
“Nick aren’t these the same people that have constantly tried to rat your brother out to you? Do you think Kevin would tell you this was a good idea?” Nick looked back towards Kevin as if searching for the answer.
“You’re probably right”
“I know I’m right but like I said take a day to think about it”
They opened the door and made their way into the building and up the stairs. This is the part of his plan he didn’t want to happen but to finish this sale it HAD to happen.
My father had put more on my plate then I was ready to digest. This seemed like a grown up decision, one that I didn’t feel ready to make. Kevin would be the perfect person to help me through this. But my father was probably right when it came to Kevin and how unobjective he could be.
My dad keyed into Mike’s apartment and we both walked hesitantly in. I didn’t know if I wanted to see my brother in the state I was told he would be in. I wasn’t even sure if I totally believed that he was an addict. He just didn’t act like one, but now I’m getting redundant.
I sat on the couch and caught my father’s eyes. He was staring at me, like he had just committed the biggest sin of his life. It was weird but I brushed it off. The poor guy had a lot to deal with these days.
“Is Mike home?” I whispered, almost hoping he wasn’t.
“I’m pretty sure he is asleep” my dad said averting his eyes away from me and towards the bedroom. He walked into the kitchen “I’m gonna get a drink, you want anything Nick”
“No thanks” I half shouted to him
“I have a headache; hey can you go into your brother’s jacket and grab the bottle of aspirin out of there for me?”
“Uh…yeah okay, where is it?” He popped his head out of the kitchen, “I think I saw him put it on the chair in his room when he came in” I hesitated, not really keen on going into his bedroom and possibly waking him up, but when my dad came out rubbing his temples I gave in.
I walked over and gently opened the door to his bedroom. Mike was sleeping on his back with one hand behind his head; his feet dangling off the end. I searched the room with my eyes finding the jacket sitting on the chair at the end of the bed.
“Hey Nicky” My name caught me off guard and I jumped. Mike was mid yawn and rubbing at his eyes.
“Hey” I walked over to the jacket and searched through the pockets.
“What are you doing?” He asked now sitting up in the bed.
“Dad said you had aspirin in your…” I stopped when I felt a plastic rectangle in my hand. I pulled it out and looked at it and that’s when my world came crashing down.
“I don’t have any apsir…”
“Why did you do it Mike?” I asked him as he squinted to try to make out what I had in my hands.
“Do what?” I couldn’t believe he was asking me that.
“Steal from me” Now he was up and off the bed and walking over to where I was standing.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I was never very good at controlling my anger, and to prove that point I shoved the card towards his face almost hitting him in the nose with it.
“I’m talking about this you son of a bitch!”
“Get that thing out of my face” He said batting my card out of my hand.
“You stole from me, you know they all said not to trust you but I didn’t listen”
“Nick I have no idea what the hell you are talking about” My father had managed to make his way into the room amidst our yelling at each other.
“What is going on?” He asked walking in between my brother and I. I pointed to the floor where my card was, “That is what’s going on”
My dad walked over to the card and picked it up off the floor, “Mikey…” He said, but when I looked over at Mike he didn’t look guilty he looked mad as hell. And not at me either.
“What did you do old man?” He asked our father while I looked on totally confused.
“We’ll talk about this later” he said as he walked out of the room, my brother following on his heels”
“Did you set me up you bastard?” he continued to ask in an accusing manner. He was mad as hell and a little scary.
All the yelling coming from the apartment brought Kevin and Mike upstairs which really came as no immediate shock to me. There was an abrupt knock on the door “Let us in please” Came Mike’s loud and low voice.
Everyone including me ignored it, “Son, don’t try to pin this on me, why have you been stealing from your little brother?”
“I did not steal from him” he said and then looking me right in the eyes he said it again, “I did not steal from you”
“Then why do you have my card in your jacket pocket?”
“He must have put it there! Nick I can’t believe you are listening to him” Mike was really mad and took an empty beer bottle from the coffee table and careened it across the room breaking it into a million pieces.
“Let us in, this is the last time I’m asking nicely” Came Mike’s voice.
“You don’t trust me? After all the shit we have talked about and everything we have been through? Well go to hell!” Mike shouted at me.
I was furious by this point. How dare he tell me to go to hell when he had been stealing from me? So I did the only thing my 18 year old brain told me to do, I charged at him. We both hit the wall but he was so much stronger than me he pushed me off of him causing me to hit my head on the table; of course just as Mike and Kevin entered the room.