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~ 33 ~

Reunited…and it feels so good….

I was just about to give up all hope when finally someone picked up the phone, “Hello?”

It’s weird but my heart started beating double time, “Howie, it’s me, Nick.”

“Oh my God…Nicky! It’s Nicky.” He said to whoever was standing by him in the room.

“Is he okay?” It was Brian, “Let me talk to him.” I could hear them fighting over the phone. “Nick, is that really you?”

“Hey Bri…yeah it’s me.”

“Thank God, are you okay? Where are you? Are you still with Nickolas? What happened?”

“Slow down…I got away, I’m not sure where I am…I’m at a payphone on a corner.” I knew exactly where I was but I was supposed to play dumb.

“Is there a street name? Are you sure you’re safe?”

“Uh…hang on, I’m looking for it.” I paused for a few seconds while Nickolas gave me an approving smile. “Okay I’m on the corner of Tenth and Berkshire.”


“What do you mean where?”

“I mean where in the city? What borough? Do you know?”

Shit, I really didn’t know. “Borough?” I said out loud, hoping that Nickolas would take my cue and help me out a little bit.

“The Bronx.” He whispered to me.

“I think I’m in the Bronx, maybe?”

“He thinks he’s in the Bronx, go get Max…” He was talking to someone either Howie or AJ. Hearing Brian wanting to get Max made me calm down even more. My father was right, as long as the guys had no idea Max was a bad guy, they were safe.

“I’m glad I found you. I wasn’t sure if you would have gone back to the hotel or not…I didn’t know what else to do.” I was trying to play it up a bit.

“Did he hurt you?” Brian asked sounding worried.

My first thought went to Max and I had to actually stop myself from saying something dumb like ‘how could he hurt me when he was with you?’ before I realized that he was talking about Nickolas. Shit maybe this was going to be harder than I thought.

“No, I got away from him before he got the chance.”

“Nick hang on, Max wants to talk to you…”

I took a deep breath and looked over at my brother, “Okay.” I said as I heard Brian hand the phone over to Max.



“Listen, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Is there anyplace around where you can hide or blend in just in case Nickolas comes looking for you?”

“Yeah, there’s a diner right across the street,” That’s why my dad picked this phone. We had planned on Max wanting to meet me in a common area.

“Okay good. I want you to wait for me in that diner. Don’t move. I’ll be there soon!”


He handed the phone back to Brian. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine, Bri…”

“Good, get out of the cold and go to that diner, Max just left to get you.”


When we hung up the phone I looked over at Nickolas, “You did a great job kid.” He said as he smiled at me. “He’s going to be looking for me so I’m going to have to really do a disappearing act but, take this.” He placed this little tiny magnet looking thing in my hands.

“What is it?”

“It’s a tracking device. As long as you have that on you, we’ll be able to find you. We think now that you’re back he’s going to change hotels again. This way we can track you from a distance.”

“Okay.” Seemed like the word of choice for me.

He placed his arm on my shoulder, “I will be close and I have your back. I’m your big brother and it’s my job to protect you. Just keep calm and everything will work out.”

I nodded at him and then I hugged him. At first he seemed surprised but he quickly softened up and returned the hug. “Be safe!” He warned.

“You too.” He nodded at me one more time before running off and I crossed the street and headed for the diner.

I ordered a hot chocolate and nervously kept tapping my fingers on the table as I waited. The waitress kept looking at me as if I was a lost child. I guess maybe that’s what I looked like. Either that or she was worried I was going to run out before paying the bill. It was one of those looks.

Finally about thirty minutes later, Max walked in. “you can do this Nick…” I said to myself just as soon as he spotted me and sat down.

“Are you okay? He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“I’m fine.”

“Good. I just scouted the area and he’s nowhere in sight, so I think you successfully got away.” He paused and then looked at me suspiciously, “How did you get away?”

Just like you practiced it Nick… “When we got off the subway, I started screaming that I was being kidnapped and when security started over, I pushed him away and jumped back on the train.”

He nodded but didn’t seem like he believed me. I was starting to get nervous. What if I managed to blow things before even leaving this diner, then what? “I made sure to switch trains a few times so this way he wouldn’t be able to find me and eventually I ended up here.”

“What took you so long to call us?”

What you practiced Nick, come on…stay calm… “Honestly, I was afraid to call after what we did to you. I thought you’d hate me and wouldn’t want to help me anymore. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I figured I had to try the hotel again.” Then I took a deep breath and tried my hardest not to mess this part up, “Max, I’m really sorry.” I made sure I looked him right in the eyes when I said that. My father said Max would be looking for that. It’s one of the ways to know if someone is telling the truth. So, you just look him in the eyes and lie to him.

For the first time since coming into the diner, he showed signs of letting his guard down a little. “Don’t worry, I’m not mad. The others told me he said he was your brother.”

I nodded at him, “I was dumb to believe him.”

He shook his head at me, “No you weren’t. We believe what we want to believe.”

I nodded again thinking how right he was. That’s why it took me such a long time to realize he was a bad guy because in my heart of hearts, I wanted him to be my uncle. Even now I found myself hoping that maybe this was all a big misunderstanding and that really he was a good guy after all.

He took some money out of his wallet and placed it next to my check, “Let’s get back to the hotel. I know your friends are very eager to see you.”

I tried not to look around too much on the ride back to the hotel. I was afraid that it might look suspicious if I kept looking out the window. I know it probably wouldn’t because that’s what you do in a car, but even still I just kind of kept my eyes down and focused on what I needed to say and do. I was grateful that Max didn’t try to spark a conversation. It’s the small talk I was more worried about than the big explanations.

I was pretty much tackled when I opened the door to the room. Brian grabbed me in a hug so hard, I couldn’t even breathe. “Thank God you are okay! We were so worried about you!”

“Don’t you ever do that again Nicky!” Howie was next in the hug line.

“It’s not like I asked to be kidnapped!” I shook my head at D.

“Glad to see you alive and breathing, Carter!” AJ said as he pulled me into a hug.

Max didn’t actually come in but just stood in the doorway, “Okay, I’m going to make arrangements for us to move to another hotel.” Just like my father predicted. “I’ll be back in a few. I know you have a lot of catching up to do.”

He smiled at us and then left. This was going to be the hardest part of all. Everyone was so afraid that I’d blow it with Max but I wasn’t worried about that. I was worried about this.

“So, tell us what happened.” Brian pulled me towards the couch and pushed me down. I swear if he had a bone he would have given me one.

“Nothing really, I managed to get away from Nickolas at a train stop.” I told them the same story I told Max even though I desperately wanted to tell them everything that really happened. God, how I wanted to tell them, but Max was in that other room listening in.

My father warned me, “He’s going to leave just so he can listen in on your conversation and make sure you were telling him the truth. That’s why you absolutely can’t tell the guys anything. They have to be as in the dark as Max is.”

They all seemed captivated by what I was saying but I also felt the need to divert the attention away from me and back on them.

“So, why did you end up coming back here?”

“Once Nickolas grabbed you, we tried everything we could to get the police to stop the train at the next station, but they didn’t believe us.”

“Probably because you said we were the Backstreet Boys and famous.” AJ rolled his eyes at Howie.

“Well, we ARE the Backstreet Boys and famous.”

“Not here though, he thought you were a raving lunatic.”

“Anyway…” Brian continued, “We didn’t really know where else to turn so we had no choice but to come back to your uncle since we pretty much figured out Nickolas was lying about him.”

“Was he mad?”

“He was pissed, but more concerned that you were missing. After Nickolas attacked him, he brought in his friend Curtis to help try to track us down. We showed up a little while later. Max is a good guy. I feel bad I doubted him.

See, statements like that made me feel like a terrible person for not letting Brian know he was right to doubt him. Brian is my best friend, I share everything with him. It was killing me not to be able to share this. KILLING ME!

“What about Kevin, do we know anything about him yet?” My father told me to be sure I asked about Kev, otherwise it might look odd that I didn’t care suddenly.

Brian looked down at the floor, “No, I’m really worried about him. If he was okay, he would have contacted us by now.”

“We keep calling hospitals, but no one fitting his description was brought in.” AJ said as he handed me a Coke out of the blue. That was nice of him.

“I might call Aunt Anne if he doesn’t show up soon.”

I nodded at Brian and wondered what she would tell him. It was so weird knowing that she was aware of what was going on. Maybe Brian’s parents were aware as well. I mean they are related so there’s a good chance that at one point they shared that info with one another. I’d have to ask my dad when this was all over.

“Maybe that’s a good idea.” I said reassuringly. I took a deep breath, knowing I had to keep lying in order for this plan to work. “I have a feeling Nickolas knows where Kevin and my father are.”

All three of them looked over at me surprised, “Why would you say that?” Brian asked.

“Because while we were on the train, he kept telling me he was taking me to see my father and my friend.”

“Yeah, but Nick…he was clearly lying.”

“If he was lying why would he have kidnapped me in the first place?” when none of them answered my question I continued, just like we planned. “He kept mentioning this warehouse in Brooklyn where all my questions would be answered. He said that once we got there, id’ know what this was all about once and for all.”

“Warehouse in Brooklyn?”

I nodded, “Part of me wishes, I didn’t run away and that I just went along but I was so scared. I was afraid he was going to take me to that warehouse and kill me.”

“Hey boys…” I was grateful when Max and his friend came into the room. This way I was able to stop lying to my friends for a little while. I was hoping I gave him just enough info to try to find this warehouse.

“This is Curtis, a good friend of mine and your father’s. We all worked together at the CIA. I called him in on this once you went missing.”

He smiled at all of us but his eyes stayed fixed on me, “Nice to meet you. I am looking forward to helping you out, young man.”

I felt myself go numb and I’m pretty sure my hands started to sweat as my heartbeat increased. I couldn’t find my voice as I just stood there staring at the monster from my dreams.

Roger in the flesh.
Chapter End Notes:
Hope everyone had a nice NYE. Things are probably going to start slowing down for me and this story since school is starting back on Monday *waah* Hope you all enjoyed the three quick updates though! I'll be back soon with another chapter! :O) Thanks for reading and reviewing!