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Chapter 2: Springing into Action

Thank you all so much for the reviews! I hope this story make sense, sometimes it almost seems like my words run together like I'm talking really fast and it just doesn't make any coherent sense J Also just a note, this is set roughly in 2003 and I'm using a mixture of facts and my own imagination to get the story told. I hope that's acceptable.


The fuck? Who the fuck would be calling me at three-fifteen in the fucking morning? Luckily I was having another bout of insomnia tonight so I was already wide awake, just lying in my bed, but that didn't mean I couldn't be majorly pissed.  I grudgingly flipped my phone open and answered.

"The fuck?"


Oh, that's who'd be calling me.

"The fuck, Kevin?" I repeated.

"Why isn't Howie picking up his phone?"

"Maybe because it's three-thirty in the fucking morning. Could that have something to do with it?" I loved being sarcastic.

"You and Howie need to get Nick," he sounded flustered. Great, another Kevin episode.

"Tell him to get a cab."

I heard Kevin take in a shaky breath. "Something's wrong," his voice went up an octave at "wrong" and now he had my attention. "He's at the club Billboards. That's close to you yeah?"

"Kev, what's going on?" My interest peaked further when I heard Kristen in the background - I couldn't make out what she was saying, but she sounded upset.

"I don't know. But it's not good. He just phoned me. He was crying and..." I heard Kevin's voice break slightly and I immediately jumped out of bed, ignoring my nakedness and running to the guest room where Howie was sleeping.

"Okay, Kev, I'm getting Howie now. Billboards? We'll be there in fifteen minutes."

"Stay on the phone with me!"

I barged into Howie's room and switched on the light.


I groaned. Really loud. Like really, really loud. You know, to get the message across. Who in their right mind would wake someone up at three-twenty in the morning?

"Howie, wake up!"

Oh, yeah, that's who.

"No," I moaned. You know, just in case he didn't get the message the first time round. I buried my head in my pillow, trying to block out the insanely bright lights. Did AJ install search lights or something?

I felt the blankets being pulled off me and I could feel the angry little Puerto Rican man in me surge. This is until I looked up at AJ and horror set in instead.

"Dude! Put some clothes on!"

AJ ignored the statement and drew closer to my bed. Why? Why, I ask you, would he think it would be a good idea to awaken a sleeping man with his nakedness. Yes, because that's how he woke me and now I will never get back to sleep.

"We have a problem," he thrust his phone to me as if this would explain his nakedness. I just can't get over how naked he is. In my room.

"Does this problem involve you not finding any clothes?" I got out of bed, ignoring the phone, and handed him my robe. I didn't need it, you see, because like every other normal man in the world, I go to bed with boxers on.

"Howie!" Kevin's voice blasted through the phone.

"Is that Kevin?"

"We need to go to Billboards," AJ shoved the robe aside impatiently.

"What's wrong?" All this nakedness and impatience was beginning to appeal to my curiosity. Not to mention the mysterious phone call from Kevin.

"Nick's in trouble. We need to pick him up."

Nick's in trouble? According to the tabloids, that's nothing new. I plopped back down on the bed, my interest waning.

"Tell him to get a cab."

A muffled scream came from the phone and AJ thrust it into my hand. I had no choice but to put it up to my ear.


"You need to find him Howie."

His voice was enough to pull me out of my reluctance. This was not just another Kevin episode. This was serious.

"Ok, we're on our way."

"I'm going to ring him," and then he hung up.

"Let's go!" AJ snatched his phone out of my hand and made for the door.

"Are you going to put on some pants at least?" I yelled after him.


The car ride was torture. Howie has this habit of shaking his leg when he's nervous. He was rocking the whole damn car! The drive to Billboards from my house is only fifteen minutes, ten if there was no traffic, and there was no traffic. But I swear on everything that is holy, it felt like hours before we even reached the end of my street. Kevin rang Howie with news that he couldn't get a hold of Nick. Of course this meant that Howie's leg was now going into an epileptic fit. I suppose I should be grateful. At least he's not doing a Brian and vomiting all over my Mercedes.

"The more I think about it, the more worried I get," Howie said, glancing at me from the passenger seat. "I mean when does Nick ever call Kevin? And at three A.M as well?"

"Kevin said he sounded drunk. Maybe it was a drunk dial."

Dammit Howie! Now you got me worrying. And we were probably worrying over nothing. It wouldn't be the first time.


August 10, 1996.

"Did you check the hotel?"

"Yes Kevin," I sighed.

"Well maybe you should check again."

I rolled my eyes. "I'm telling you, he's not there!"

"Crap! We're going to miss the flight!"

"How about we just leave without him?" I suggested with a smirk on my face.

"And what will we tell his mother?" Howie asked dryly.

I shrugged. "She'll just pop out another Carter to make money off of." I got a round of glares for that one. But notice how they didn't disagree?

"Dammit, what if he's in trouble?"

Now that just made me angry. "He's not in trouble, he's just being a little shithead," I was growling. I growl when I get mad. Yes, growl. "All that "we're a big family" bullshit he was spewing last night? Yer, that was him buttering us up so he can get away with shit like this."

Again with the glaring.

"The hotel is a beach resort."

"Great deduction Rok," I sneered. I was in crabby mood. The bus driver was giving us sinister looks as we stood outside having this conversation and I was not looking forward to the lashing Lou was bound to give us for being late to the airport.

"Did anyone check the beach?"

We all looked at each other dumbly. I put my hands out in front of me defensively.

"My job was the hotel," I said as the three other guys hurried down in the direction of the beach. I reluctantly followed.

I couldn't wait to get my hands on Carter. I had known the kid for all of three years now and he still managed to get on my nerves. He was such a pain in the ass! And what's worse is the other guys only encouraged him! Kevin acted all fatherly, all protective like. Doesn't he know that he's just feeding into the kid's need for attention? It's not as if he's not getting enough across Europe. Howie was just as bad, but he was like the mother hen and I think that's more sickening than Kevin's thing. "I think you might be coming down with a cold, Nicky", "Why don't you lie down, Nicky", "Let me make you some hot tea, Nicky". Are you serious?

And then there was Brian. The Frick to Nick's Frack, Bonnie to Nick's Clyde, Sonny to Nick's Cher, and whatever other famous pair you can come up with. If anyone was guilty of pandering to Carter's every need, it was Brian. Everything they did, they did together.

Brian spotted him first. He was sitting on the sand, watching the waves come in. He looked completely out of it and I wondered if he got into my weed stash again. As we got closer however, I realised he wasn't high, he was just pensive. Yes, I said it. Nick was pensive. Stop the presses!

"Nick!" Uh oh, Kevin was mad.

He looked up and in that instant my murderous rage was stifled by the look on his face. Of course that was just for a minute, and then he opened his mouth.

"Hey guys!"

"Hey guys?" I mimicked. "We're late doofus."

He jumped up and looked down at his watch. "Oh sorry guys! I completely forgot the time."

And that look was back. You know the look I'm talking about? The "oh no I'm in trouble, I better put on a puppy dog face to get some pity" look. He's got that down to a T.

"That's alright, Nicky," Damn you Howie.

"What were you doing down here Frack?" Brian questioned.

"Just thinking," Nick shrugged, and of course Kevin had to ask.

"Thinking about what?" I knew that anger wouldn't last.

"Did you guys mean what you said last night? Are we really family?"

I just about lost it. Is this kid for real? Do they not see what he's doing here? How can they be so damn blind?

"For fuck's sake!" I all but screamed and started to head back to the bus. I never did hear their answer.