- Text Size +
~ 28 ~

Family Reunion

I’m not sure how long I stood there dumbfounded. Sometimes there are just no words for something. Believe me, there were a whole shit load of emotions but nothing worth saying.

“You need to get that shoulder looked at. Chris will help you with that.” Jane said as she kissed Nickolas on the cheek and hugged him once more.

Before he left the room, Nickolas put his hand on my shoulder, “We’ll talk later.” He said and then he exited leaving me staring at my mother.

She turned and walked back my way. I just stood there, silent and feeling empty. Gently, she placed her hand on my face and slowly and lovingly pet my cheek down to my chin. “My beautiful baby boy,” she smiled as a tear came down, “I have missed you.”

I didn’t say anything, but I felt so much. “I’m sure you have a lot of questions.” She said as she pulled me into an embrace, “But, there will be time for that later. You must be so exhausted. Kevin will show you to one of the bedrooms where you can get some rest.”

She pulled away from me and brushed my hair away from my face just like she used to do when I was little. Back when the world was simpler and I was just Nick Carter, the kid who liked to sing into doorknobs.

“Where’s my father?” I asked just as she was about to leave Kevin and I alone.

She turned to the sound of my voice and seemed disappointed at the choice of my first words to her in years. “Nickolas said he would be here. Where is he?”

Instead of answering my question, she looked over at Kevin and nodded before turning back towards me and smiling, “Get some rest.”

I watched her leave the room and my eyes remained glued to where she had been for a long time after. I wanted to run after her but I was too drained, both emotionally and physically. I felt Kevin’s arm on my shoulder. “Let’s go sit buddy. I know you’re probably in shock.”

“He’s dead, isn’t he?” I didn’t want to look at him when I asked because I could tell when he was lying to me. This time I didn’t want to know the truth. If he said no, that my dad was still alive, as long as I wasn’t looking at him, I could believe it.

But he didn’t say no. He didn’t say anything. Instead he just led me towards the couch and sat me down. “I have been so worried about all of you.” He said as he grabbed a blanket and covered me with it.

“Aren’t you the least bit curious where your cousin is? Where the rest of the guys are?” I didn’t mean to say it with as much contempt in my voice as I had, but I found myself getting mad at how calm and collected he seemed to be about all of this. Like being in the same apartment as my dead mother and her Russian son was a normal occurrence.

“Are they all okay?”

“I hope so; we left them standing on a subway platform.”


I explained what happened from the time he disappeared all the way up to knocking on the door and seeing my mother. He just sat there and didn’t say anything. “So, I’m hoping that the guys are okay and that the people who were chasing us, didn’t catch up to them.”

“Nickolas wouldn’t have left them there if he thought they were in any danger.”

“So, you’re on a first name basis with him too? What the hell? Do you guys all get together on the holidays or something?”

“Nick, what the hell are you talking about?”

“How the hell would you know he wouldn’t do something like that?”

“Because he saved my life.”

“Yeah about that, what exactly happened? I mean, I think it’s a little weird that you kind of just disappeared without a trace and you’re sitting here as if you are a guest.”

“What do you mean by that?” I could tell he was starting to get angry.

“Well, it’s not like they have you chained to the bathtub or anything. Seems to me like if you wanted to, you could have just walked out the door.” I looked over at the wall and pointed to the phone, “Or call us even, let us know you were alive. That would have been super.”

“All of the phones at the hotel were bugged.”

“Oh right, and you would know that because?” I didn’t mean to make it seem like he was lying but I couldn’t stop myself. I was angry, not even at Kevin, just at everyone.

“Your father told me.”

“Oh, you mean the guy who no one wants to tell me about? I’m starting to think I made the fucker up or something.”


“Don’t you dare Nick me! I am so tired of this crap Kevin!”

“And I’m not?”

“I don’t know, are you? For all I know, you’re a part of all this!”

“How can you even say that?” He sounded hurt. Not mad at all and that made me feel bad.

Kevin sighed and wrapped a blanket around himself. I had been outside for such a long time that I hadn’t realized how cold it was in this apartment. “I have tried to leave a million times but your mom and dad convinced me to stay. They said they had their hands full trying to keep the rest of you safe and the last thing they needed was to worry about me as well. I’m sorry Nick, I really am. I’m sure you have all been worried sick about me.”

I nodded but wouldn’t look at him again. This time it was because I was embarrassed by my outburst. I knew he would never do anything to intentionally hurt me or anyone else. “Your mom called, we had to lie to her. Brian felt horrible for doing it.”

“I talked to my mom.” This time I looked at him.


“After you did. I didn’t want her to worry.”

“So, they let you call home?”

He nodded. “I’m not a prisoner here Nick and neither are you.”

“Kevin, what happened after you left us? You went to make a call and then what?”

He turned his body to face me and sat folding his legs underneath himself.

“When I went to go use one of the lobby phones, I started to dial Max’s number when I overheard one of the people at the front desk. She was talking in Russian to someone in the back. Someone I couldn’t see. I glanced over towards you guys but saw that you were all just huddled together and not looking my way at all. I almost walked over to you, but I was afraid I’d miss the opportunity to find out what was going on, so instead I put down the phone and headed towards the front desk.

When I got closer I heard your name, clear as day. She said Nick Carter and lobby. At that point I knew I had to warn you guys that we weren’t safe. I started to walk back towards you but felt a hand on my arm. “Hello Kevin, where do you think you’re going?” He said to me. I knew it was Max right away. He was the person I couldn’t see.

I tried to play dumb, I told him I heard someone say your name and that I thought you were in danger and that we had to go warn you right away, but it was too late. He said he saw me hanging out by the phones and that he knew I had heard a little too much.”

He stopped to gauge how I was dealing with what he had to say so far. I guess once he was satisfied that I wouldn’t jump out the nearest window, he continued.

“I tried pulling away from him, but that’s when I felt a gun in my back. He told me if I tried anything funny, he would have no problems shooting me and then anyone else who got in his way. There wasn’t much more I could do at that point, so I left with him. We took off up the stairs.”

He shivered. Poor guy, I can only imagine how scary that was for him. Again, this was my fault.

“I just let him lead me back upstairs to our rooms but then he stopped when he noticed that his room was opened. He grabbed my arm and kicked his door and moved inside. He actually put me in front of him to act as a shield in case anyone was to shoot at him. Luckily no one did. So, he threw me on the bed as he ran to the other bed and looked underneath it.

I knew exactly what he was looking for.

He was really angry when he didn’t find the briefcase. “I bet you know where it is, don’t you?” He asked me as he grabbed me up by my collar. That’s when I saw the Bible, sitting there on his end table. Before he could say or do anything else, I hit him as hard as I could with that damn Bible and he dropped to the ground. He was blocking the front door so my only hope was the balcony. I started running towards the sliding glass doors, ready to jump if I needed to when suddenly I heard someone say “Look out,” As the guy pushed me down to the ground.”


He nodded at me, “I heard a scuffle behind me and by the time it was all over, Nickolas was helping me off the ground and your uncle was on the floor knocked out. There was another Russian guy there as well.”

“His name was Martin. Max killed him.” I added, feeling horribly guilty and stupid for ever trusting this guy in the first place. I swear after this, you’re going to need about 15 different forms of identification to be allowed into my inner trust circle.

“He was killed?”

I nodded at him and explained what happened out by the dumpster. Now, there was no doubt in my mind that Max was the one who was trying to kill me. I wonder what stopped him? He had a perfect opportunity to stick me in that dumpster with Martin.

“I don’t get it.” I said out loud.

“Don’t get what?”

“Like Max has been saying this whole time, he could have killed us about a million times over, how come he hasn’t?”

He shrugged at me, but I could tell by the way he did it, there was more he hadn’t told me so I decided to prod for more information, “So, after Nickolas saved you, what happened next?”

“That guy Chris was waiting outside so I went with him and Nickolas said he was going back in to make sure everything was okay upstairs. He said he was going to try to get you guys to follow and they wouldn’t be too far behind. Chris brought me here and that’s when I saw your dad and your mom. When I saw her, I about had a heart attack. She’s been really nice but hasn’t said very much. She’s kind of kept to herself.

After a few hours, your dad knew something was wrong so he sent Chris back to the hotel to check things out. Anyway, he came back shortly after and said he saw one of their own dead in the dumpster.”

He paused, “That’s when your dad left to see for himself. When he got to the dumpster, he saw you. You were leaning over and looking at the dead body. He said he was about to grab you when Max came out of nowhere and grabbed you instead.”

He stopped, put his hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eyes, “Nick, he was about to kill you but your dad wrestled him, they fought but in the end, hotel people came out and Max grabbed you and pretended you had passed out from the cold. Your father had no choice but to let you go back inside the hotel. He knew that you’d be okay as long as you still thought Max was on your side.”

My father had saved my life.

“Where is my dad now?”

“I’m right here, son.” I turned to the sound of my father’s voice as he entered the living room. He looked at me and smiled, he seemed older somehow. I jumped up from the couch and ran over to him, giving him a huge hug and vowing to never let him go.

“We have a problem.” He said after we finally pulled away from each other.

“What is it?” I asked, just wishing I could live in that moment forever before another dilemma arose. When they heard the sound of my dad’s voice, my mom, Chris and Nickolas all came back out into the living room. It was them he was talking to, not me.

“Is it Max?” Jane asked.

“Yes, what I was most afraid of happened.”

“What?” I asked again.

He looked at me and Kevin, “The boys decided to double back to the hotel and tell Max about what happened to you. I saw them walk in before I could stop them.”

“He won’t try to hurt them, right?” I asked hopeful.

“I don’t know Nick. Things have changed. He knows you left with Nickolas and he probably has figured out you are now with me.”

“So, what does that mean?”

“That means he can use the boys as a bargaining chip if he wants to.”

Oh crap!

“Can’t we just go in and get them?” Kevin asked panicked.

“There are too many people keeping watch from the inside.”

“I don’t understand why this is happening!” I said, frustrated.

That’s when my mother stepped front and center, “This is my fault baby.”

“Mom, don’t…” Nickolas urged as he placed a consoling arm on her shoulder.

“No, it’s time he knows the truth. We have kept him in the dark too long.” Bob said nodding to the woman I thought was dead for such a long time. I wonder how long he has known she’s been alive.

“Max told me he was my uncle.” I said to my mother as she walked towards me.

“He’s not.”

I sighed, knowing what was going to come next, “He’s the one that killed my real mother then, huh? Just shot her dead in cold blood.” I looked down at the floor, ready to cry because I felt so deceived.

When I felt my mother’s hand grab my own, I glanced up, and only after making eye contact with her did she speak, softly but clear as a bell. “No Nick, Max didn’t kill her. I did.”
Chapter End Notes:
:O) I'll be back next week with chapter 29! As always, thanks for reading!