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After their fight on his birthday, Brian couldn’t stop thinking about everything Nick had said. He knew he was wrong for stringing both of them along. He knew they both deserved better because he didn’t know what he wanted, or what his heart wanted. It was all confusing to the point where he couldn’t even perform in the bedroom with his girlfriend anymore. This made her concerned, but Brian managed to convince her that he was just under a lot of stress and not to worry about it. This was also putting unnecessary strain on his heart and making him have pain, more than he usually had. He was looking forward to finally getting the surgery in May so it could stop, but that seemed Iike a lifetime away. Leighanne would be concerned when she would see Brian hold his chest or look winded for no reason. He hated having anyone fawn over him so he pushed her away and pretended that he was fine.

He was far from fine.

“I only ask because I care about you, you know that?” Leighanne said, kissing him gently before she continued to pack her overnight bag. She was going back home in the morning and Brian wondered where he would go since Nick threw him out of their room. He supposed he could always room with one of the others, maybe Howie since they seemed to get along well most of the time. AJ was another possibility, or even Kevin. He knew Kevin would just nag him about the situation with Nick, so he decided to try rooming with Howie. He brought his things there that night, so there was no hassle when Leighanne went downstairs to check out.

“Thanks for letting me stay with you, Howie. I know we aren’t in the city for much longer before we go to Italy.” Brian said, bringing his suitcase into Howie’s room.

Howie helped him with his other bag and they carried them into the room, shutting the door behind them.

“It’s no problem. Usually I room with Kevin or AJ but the room arrangements were so weird this time. I’m sorry that you and Nick aren’t getting along right now. What happened exactly?”

Brian hesitated, standing there with his bag. He couldn’t tell Howie what was going on so he had to think quickly and make up a lie. He hated lying to yet another person, but what choice did he have?

“Oh, its stupid. He and I were supposed to hang out but I went out with my girlfriend. He’s just being jealous and stupid about the whole thing so I left.”

Brian walked in and set his other bag on the floor next to the one Howie put down by the bed near the window.

“That’s weird. You guys are usually so close.”

Brian looked at his feet, thinking that nobody even knew half of how close he and Nick were. It was then he started to feel guilty again for hurting him, all he could picture was the look on Nick’s face as he threw his bags at him in the hallway. He wondered what was going through his mind now. He thought about going down the hall to apologize but he didn’t know if Nick would even talk to him, so he went over to the bed and sat down.

“I guess. Sometimes things change, ya know?”

Howie left Brian to his thoughts and sat down on the bed next to him, turning on the television. Brian stared out the window, sighing. He wondered what was going through Nick’s mind even now. Would they ever be okay again? Maybe he’d go down and talk to him a little later when things cooled down some. He’d go down to the room with a pizza and apologize for being stupid, and Nick would take him back. It wasn’t much of a plan but he knew it would work. NIck usually didn’t stay mad. Or so he hoped, anyway.

Nick laid on his bed down the hall, tossing a hacky sack and catching it as he stared at the ceiling. He knew kicking Brian out of the room was the right thing to do to send him a message. He knew he was in the right and Brian was wrong. He also wondered if he should just talk to Leighanne himself, but he was afraid. He sat there, thinking about the arguement. It was their second huge fight and although he knew Brian deserved it, he wondered if he was too hard on him. He knew this stress was not good for Brian’s heart condition and he even debated going down the hall to check on him before he decided to lay down. His thoughts were startled by the sudden knock on the hotel room door so he got up, sitting upright with his legs dangling off the bed and sighing. He stared at the door and listened for the knock again, licking his lips out of nerves because he didn’t want to appear like he’d forgiven Brian or was being too soft.

“Nick, are you there? It’s me. Open the door?”

Nick squinted when he heard someone talking from behind the hotel room door. He wondered if Brian had come to apologize, but it didn’t really sound like him.

“Don’t go right away, you’ll look too eager to talk to him.” Nick coached himself. He slowed down. Stopping to run a hand through his hair, he breathed deeply before opening the door and opened it to find Brian’s girlfriend standing there instead of him. He was thoroughly confused by this turn of events.

“Oh, hi. Er- um. I thought you were going home?” Nick asked. He let her into the room and they sat down at the little table near the window.

“Well, I still am going home...but my flight is in the morning. I just needed someone to talk to. I didn’t wake you or anything, did I?”

“No, you didn’t wake me. What’s wrong? You said you needed to talk, is everything okay?” Nick asked with a smile. Leighanne rubbed her shoulders, sighing. Something was going on all right, and Nick had a suspicion it had to do with Brian.

“I would like to think it is but Brian’s been acting weird. I was wondering if there was something wrong with him that he wasn’t telling me, you know he has a habit of hiding things from people. I just have this uneasy feeling.” Leighanne said.

Nick stared at her, listening. Leighanne started telling him about the night before his birthday, when they’d gone to her room. Nick had to hold restraint as he listened but he was shocked by the things she told him. All of it was only further confirmation to what Nick knew already, that Brian had developed real feelings for him and liked men to the point where being with a woman now made him feel strange. Nick also felt guilty because he was to blame. He’d tempted Brian to the point where they were fooling around behind her back. He helped Brian cheat on his girlfriend who genuinely cared for him. The guilt was becoming unbearable.

“It was like he was embarrassed to see me...well, naked. We usually don’t have problems making love but he just acted so strange.”

“What kind of problem is he having?” Nick asked, trying to keep his composure.

“He couldn’t perform in the bedroom.”

Nick didn’t say anything, he just stared at his feet and thought about the other night in the shower when they were all over each other. He shook it away.

“I’m sure everything is fine, maybe he’s just stressed.”

“Nick, if something is going on….you would tell me, wouldn’t you? I am worried, I know his surgery is coming in a couple of months. He won’t tell me anything and I know I can trust you.” Leighanne smiled, touching his knee. Nick didn’t say anything for a long time, the last words echoing in his mind. He just nodded at her, staying quiet.

I know I can trust you….

He thought of the shower again. The first time he felt Brian inside him. His stomach churned with guilt.

I know I can trust you….

The image of him and Brian in bed laughing and fooling around under the covers played in the back of his mind. Laying in bed, kissing. Nights when they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

I know I can trust you….

“Leigh, there is something going on with Brian. There’s a reason why he’s been acting strange with you.” Nick said finally, feeling the bile rise to his throat. He felt sick to his stomach.

“What is it?” Leighanne asked, looking at him because his face was so pale.

“Brian has been cheating on you.” Nick said slowly. She stared at him, her blue eyes glistening.


“He’s been cheating on you with me.”