- Communication Skills
Nick wondered what AJ wanted when he saw Harry talking on the phone, looking a little annoyed. Suddenly the phone was shoved his way though and he didn’t know what to do.
“Here, it’s AJ. Have fun and don’t fight.” Nick wasn’t sure if he could accomplish that on both levels. He might have forgotten to tell AJ and the other band members where he’d been for the past six days and he wouldn’t be surprised if they were downright pissed with him now. Sure, he could have called, but how was he gonna make up a story about his broken shoulder?
“Hi,” he started, an octave higher than he’d intended. He scolded himself quickly, he’d never been afraid of AJ McLean, so why should he start now? Nevertheless, he felt his heart hammering in his throat as he waited for AJ to answer.
“Hi yourself,” the older Backstreet Boy replied impatiently, clearly waiting for Nick to explain himself.
“Look, I’m sorry I didn’t call, my batteries are dead man,” he made a lame attempt at an excuse and heard AJ scoff at him.
“And you couldn’t charge them why?”
“Cause I don’t have my charger with me?” Nick answered sweetly.
“Yeah, about that, the hell are you doing at Brian’s man?” AJ rushed really quick, as if not wanting anybody else to hear him.
“Well, I finally came to my senses and thought it was time to give him a visit. You should try that sometime too,” Nick advised, feeling fairly pleased with himself about his diplomatic answer. There was a long pause at the other end of the line and he could hear AJ sigh.
“I can’t. Brian’s mad at me,” AJ pouted and Nick rolled his eyes.
“Dude, he’s not mad at us anymore. In fact, I think he doesn’t even remember being mad at us in the first place.’’ Now that he said it out loud, it suddenly made perfect sense. There hadn’t even been a trace of anger in Brian when Nick had first shown up. He’d since wondered why, but had never thought of the obvious reason that Brian simply didn’t remember.
“Hmm, maybe you’re right. Anyway, we were looking for you!” AJ suddenly exploded.
“Why? Why?! Because you magically vanished from the face of the earth, that’s why! It’s been six days man, and we’ve got that meeting next Saturday, remember?”
“Oh yeah, about that…” Nick drawled, not admitting that he had totally forgotten next Saturday
“What?” AJ asked menacingly.
“I kinda broke my shoulder, so I gotta stay here.”
“Wait, one thing at a time, you broke what?”
“My shoulder,’’ Nick explained patiently.
“Naturally. Any reason why?” AJs voice became even more menacing now.
“Err, I fell down the stairs,” it even sounded dumb.
“You fell down… the stairs?”
“It’s what I did,” this conversation was clearly not going anywhere.
“You’re a klutz,” AJ stated solemnly.
The remaining Backstreet Boys had returned to their hotel rooms, not knowing what there was left to be said. They didn’t know what had been going on and couldn’t explain why their friend had collapsed all of a sudden. Of course, the media had immediately gotten wind of the situation, as they always somehow seemed to do, and had interrogated them to death. Nick had kept telling them that, no, as far as he knew there was nothing serious going on and that it was just a matter of waiting. The press wasn’t satisfied, as usual, and had pressed on, which is why they called it press, Nick figured.
“Is it his heart?”
Why did they always think that, Nick had wondered. Could it be his heart? Well, it could be his heart. Oh my God. What if it was his heart?
Up ‘til now he strangely hadn’t really worried about Brian, but God, what if it was his heart? No, it couldn’t be his heart, his heart was fixed. And from what Nick had heard, the pain had been in his head. It was probably just another migraine. Nick had known about them, but couldn’t remember when Brian started having them. But now that he thought about it, the attacks seemed to get more severe and more frequent as time went on.
Great, now he wouldn’t be able to sleep for tonight.
“AJ? You still there?” Nick asked when it took the other man on the line too long to answer.
“Umm, yeah. Just had to get Ava off of the closet. Crazy girl climbs on anything.”
“Then maybe you should train her better,” Nick joked half-heartedly. There was something he really needed to ask AJ, he just couldn’t think of a way to bring the question.
“She’s not a dog, Nickolas!” AJ scolded him fiercely and Nick smiled, always knowing how to tick his friend off.
“Oh really? Hey, can I ask you something?” Nick asked as sweetly as he could manage.
“That kind of depends,” AJ drawled hesitatingly.
“Do you have access to the internet right now?” Nick began and he saw Harry looking up briefly, then continuing the book he was reading.
“Well, it’s your lucky day kid, cause I do as a matter of fact have access to the world wide web,” AJ stated dramatically.
“Good, can you google something for me?”
“Sure,” AJ answered eagerly, getting curious now.
“Okay, search at Larry, err, Hitmen. Or Hitmen’s entertainment or something like that.”
“Ah, err, why?” AJ asked and Nick scoffed, frustrated.
“Just do it!”
“Okay, okay,” AJ said defensively, “got all his panties tied into a knot now,” he murmured quietly and Nick rolled his eyes.
“Does it say anything?”
“Well, give me a second okay? Ah, here it is. Hitmen’s entertainment company was a company aiming for theatrical productions, such as musicals, tragedies, drama’s, comedies and ballets,” AJ read. Nick sighed. Nothing useful there… hold on…
“Yeah. It says here that Hitmen had to sell the stuff due to bankruptcy.” AJ explained and Nick’s eyes grew wide, stunned.
“About a year ago it seems.”
“Excuse me?” AJ questioned, offended.
“Okay, hold on, I’ll call you back okay? Oh, and I really can’t come next Saturday,” Nick rushed impatiently.
“That’s fine. I’ll settle it with the guys. Nick?”
“I really think it’s noble what you did. You know, calling Brian and stuff? I wish I had had the guts to do that…” AJ mumbled dejectedly.
“I know. It’s okay, I’m sure he’d love it if you came by soon. He just had a really bad day today though,” Nick said, remembering the fear he’d felt in the car.
“I will, hey what’s the deal with Hitmen?”
“Bye AJ,” Nick replied quickly and cut off the call. In his eyes, he had now all the information to justify his own little investigation.
“Hey Harry, do you know something about a Larry Hitmen?”