Chapter 5: Buses, Trains and Nsync's Fans.
Oh. My. God.
I was in a shitload of agony and, just for the record, this is not whiny, sooky Nick speaking. This is ‘I'm twenty-three, I can deal with shit' Nick talking. So now that we've established that I'm not being a sook, I'll try and explain what I was feeling. Ok, here's the best I can do: Imagine you were run over by a bus, followed by a train, followed by a trampling by all four of Nsync's fans. That's the pain I felt. Okay, maybe I was sooking slightly.
At least I was in my comfy bed. Wait was this my bed? How did I get here? And what happened?
Shit! Note to self: don't think, it multiplies the pain by like a trillion. I'm just gonna lie here, with my eyes closed and try to ignore the rusty saw that was trying to cut into my brain. Yeah, that didn't work because just as I had come to that conclusion, a surge of hot pain shot across my forehead. I wanted to groan but I was afraid that would excite the throbbing so I clenched my teeth and waited for my agony to subside. After what seemed like forever, it did and I snuggled further down into the bed. Yeah, I'm not one for smart ideas. Moving, as it turns out, is like having a screwdriver plunged into your eye. This time I did groan. And as I did, I felt the bile rise in my throat. Uh oh.
Instinct took over and I forgot about the pain as the thought of me sleeping in a puke filled bed urged me to flip the sheets off my body. I hurried quickly towards where I knew my ensuite was located but instead I ran straight into a wall.
Okay, before you get into a big hurrah over this, let me just say that, in my defence, my eyes were still closed. Anyway, so I ran into a wall, bounced off, landed on the carpeted floor - wait, I don't have carpet - and threw up.
I wanted so much for that to be the end of it, but, as I lay exhausted next to my own mess, my brain and skull decided to have a nice fun game of tennis. And, you know just to add to my misery, there came a loud crash as, I can only presume in my haziness of pain, a door was slammed open.
"Son of a bitch, my carpet!"
That's when the pain in my head became too much. I felt the tears come before they even left my eyes. So that's where I stayed, on the floor, lying in my own vomit whilst the rusty saw made a stellar comeback. I was aware of someone whispering my name before I blacked out.
When I woke, the room was dark. Yes, you heard right. I was actually brave enough to open my eyes this time. My head had let up it would seem. I squinted in the darkness, looked to my right and just about had a heart attack.
What the fuck was that thing? Was that a gargoyle? Was that a gargoyle shaped lamp? Oh shit, I was at AJ's.
Once I had established that a little demon monkey was not in fact watching me sleep, I turned on the lamp. The light blinded me momentarily and I could feel the return of that damned saw.
I nearly shat myself. Was that Howie standing at the end of my bed? It was kinda hard to tell what with all the stars that were twinkling across my eyes.
"Howie, that's creepy," I groaned, closing my eyes again, willing for the oncoming headache to give me a moment's rest. "Tylenol?"
"No way Nicky," Howie's voice felt closer and I felt a weight on the bed at my side.
I groaned again and turned around so my back was to him. If he wasn't in a sharing mood, then neither was I.
"I'm not giving you any drugs for at least another twenty-four hours."
What the fuck was he talking about? And why did he sound so pissed? And then it hit me. Oh crap.
I turned on my back again and looked at him guiltily. I tried to sit up but he put a hand on my chest and forced me back down.
"Last time you got up you ran into a wall and vomited all over AJ's carpet."
So that's what that smell was. And now that he had mentioned it, suddenly the whole room was filled with that smell. I began to gag. I sat up and this time Howie didn't try to stop me. He had a panicked look in his eyes and seemingly out of nowhere a bucket and he forced it onto my lap and into my hands just in time.
All that came up was yellowy gunk. I guess I didn't have anything left in my stomach to throw up. By the end all I was doing was dry heaving. I didn't remember much from last night - at least I think it was last night - except that I had one too many drinks and I smoked some weed with melted down ecstasy. At least that's what the guy at Billboards said it was. All this vomiting made me think I had a mad time last night. I wonder who I hooked up with.
So there I was, dry heaving when AJ came bursting into the room screaming about dry cleaning or something. I was pretty much finished by that point, but the smell coming from the bucket was pretty much overwhelming so I shoved it off my lap. Howie grabbed it before it tipped all over the bed. You go Howie.
My breathing was coming out in sharp and shallow breaths and I began to shake. This was not normal. No way could ecstasy do this to me the day after.
I lay down again and Howie covered me with the blankets, perhaps thinking I was cold. Suddenly I felt resentful towards him. Why is he mothering me? Where had he been for the past year? And why was he doing a better job of mothering me than my own mother? And what about AJ? And Kevin? And Brian? Where have they been for the past year? Why haven't they kept in touch? And what the hell happened last night, anyway, that I should be in AJ's house with AJ and Howie playing nurse with me? Why all the sudden interest in Nick? I felt angry and hurt all of a sudden. Where did that come from?
AJ had disappeared with the bucket. He had probably been given the unfortunate task of emptying out my puke. Serves him right for living just five blocks away from me and never coming over to check in.
He emerged from the adjoining bathroom with the empty bucket and a glass of water. Howie grabbed the water as AJ set the bucket down in front of me again, emptied. Howie brought the water up to my lips and motioned for me the drink some. I kept them firmly shut and stared furiously at him, still shaking.
"Nicky, you need to rinse your mouth out," Howie persuaded, his voice soothing, damn him.
"I can smell your breath from here, Nick," AJ chimed in.
As much as I hated to admit it, they were right. My mouth tasted like something had crawled down my throat and died. Cliché? Well that's the truth of it. It was likely to make me sick again so I lifted my head and took a careful sip from the glass Howie still held over me. I spat it back into the bucket in my lap and took another sip, this time swallowing it. I instantly felt better, my breathing evened out and my shaking slowly subsided. Did AJ's bathroom water contain some kind of magical healing properties?
"Better?" Why was Howie a better mother than my own mother? It made me want to cry. But instead I nodded. Suddenly I was overcome by this extreme exhaustion and my eyes started to close. At that same moment, a terrifying thought entered my mind. Panicked, exhaustion forgotten for that split second, I grabbed Howie's wrist as he took the bucket out of my lap. He looked at me inquisitively.
"Don't tell Kevin," I pleaded, before I gave in and gave in to my fatigue.
"Your flight leaves in two hours," Leighanne said from behind me. She was not happy, I could tell.
I placed the last pair of pants in my luggage and turned around to face her. She had Baylee in her arms and a sad look on her face.
"Thanks for booking the flight for me babe," I said, walking towards my family, kissing my son on the head and rubbing my wife's arms.
"You still can't get a hold of the others?"
I stepped back from her and sighed, rubbing my temples. "I don't understand it. Usually you can't separate Howie from his cell and AJ's always home nowadays. I guess they're really busy with Nick. It must be really bad."
"Don't jump to conclusions," Leighanne advised but it was too late for that.
There's this new phenomenon that I have discovered and it's called the internet. Apparently, the Backstreet Boys have a large online following. Who knew? Anyways, when I got off the phone with Kevin, I jumped on the internet because I thought that if Kevin wasn't going to give me any answers, and the newspaper didn't have jack, then maybe the dedicated and somewhat stalker-ish fans could fill me in. My first mistake was thinking that it would be a good idea. My second mistake was deluding myself into thinking the fans had any knowledge about anything. One forum board topic suggested Nick had established an illegal poker tournament, lost all his money, and decided the best thing to do was shoot up in an alleyway. The worst part about this was the poster claimed to have gotten the information from a friend of a friend of Kevin's.
So now that I have all these different scenarios in my head, I am determined to not rely on the internet for anything. Although I do hear it's pretty good for self-diagnosing medical conditions.
"Are you okay to do the fundraiser for me today?" I turned back to my luggage and zipped it up.
"Of course," she said, sighing deeply. That was her way of telling me she wanted me to ask what was wrong.
"What's wrong?" I pulled the luggage off my bed and turned to her again as she shifted Baylee on her hip.
She furrowed her brow. "You know I love Nick..."
"But, the others will be there with him. Do you really have to go?"
I frowned. She sounded so sad and just looking at her, with our son in her arms; she made me want to just shout ‘NO! I really don't have to go!' But I couldn't. Was I being irrational? Maybe I should stay and just wait for a phone call from Kevin. But I couldn't. I couldn't explain it, but I felt this panic within me that will not be quelled until I see Nick. So I smiled sadly at her.
"Yes, I really have to go."
Thanks for all the reviews guys! You've all been too kind! I'm a little paranoid about this but I hope my writing makes sense J