By the time he hit backstage and was able to retrieve his phone and duffle bag he had a winded email from Alexis and the rest of the PR team. Inside was their draft of the press release which he quickly signed off on. Additionally she had sent a list of dos and don't for them to follow as well as their new room arrangements. For now, they would be sharing Kevin's hotel room. Nick's stuff had already been packed up and moved to the other room during the show. He could pick up his new key cards at the front desk. She moves fast. He thought to himself, but they paid for the best so he shouldn't have been surprised by their efficiency.
As long as Kevin signed off on the press release it will be sent out first thing tomorrow morning. After that fact they were to be together in the public eye as much as possible for the first few days. That meant holding hands, hugs, smiles instead of glares at each other. She anticipated there would be magazines that wanted an interview and the team was busy crafting a backstory for them in anticipation of it. Basically they needed to see and be seen looking like the quintessential married couple in love. Instead of the two straight dudes who hated each other. Okay, instead of the one straight dude and the one bisexual dude who know one knew was actually bisexual who hated each other. This was going to be a fucking nightmare, in more ways than one. The only thing that kept Nick moving was the comical thought in his head if Kevin as he too read the rules and regulations of their new joint venture. He could almost picture the other man's head exploding like a volcano knowing Nick was moving into his pristine hotel room. Knowing it would be a matter of time before Nick had it destroyed. He would make a conscious effort to be more tidy, knowing that would be the thing that set Kevin off quicker than anything else.
Stuffing his phone back in his pocket he quickly gathered his bags and headed towards the back entrance. He knew the other guys would shower at the stadium, but if he could get a ride back to the hotel now, perhaps he could get into the room and shower and possibly be safely in bed before Kevin ever got back to the room. He couldn't hide from him and the other guys indefinitely, but at least he'd have a few more hours to himself before reality came crashing down on him.
Kevin had just stepped under the shower spray when he swore he heard something in the main part of the hotel room. He waited for several moments to see if he heard anything else, but hearing nothing he shrugged and dunked his head under the spray. The hot water felt wonderful on his tired body as he tried desperately to wash off the filth and stress of the day. He hadn't bothered waiting, hell he hadn't even stopped the moment he got off stage he was out the back door. Brought his show clothes home and everything. He would have to call and have someone from wardrobe come and pick them up for cleaning. It wasn't even until he was in the cab back to the hotel that he'd found and read Alexis's message. Leaning back into the cool cushions of the car seats he allowed himself the moment of stillness to wash over him. What the fuck had he agreed to. How in the world were they going to play happy in love couple to the world. Sure he was a pretty good actor, but this? This was asking him to put in the performance of a lifetime, not only for the public, but also for himself. And therein lies the thing he was most terrified of. Fooling himself.
He took a ragged breath and ran his fingers through his hair before turning down the volume on his phone and finding the video. He played it again for like the hundredth time that day, trying desperately to understand how this had happened. They looked plastered. Hell both of them had this crazy, glazed over look in their eyes that was actually kind of terrifying when you thought about the fact that neither of them could remember a damn thing. If this video didn't exist there was no way Kevin would even begin to believe it had happened, or that he was a willing participant. But there he was, yelling in Nick's face that they should go get married. Nick's eyes turning giant before nodding his head enthusiastically. The next thing visible was Kevin grabbing his hand and dragging him out of the room. The video went dark for several long moments before reappearing. Kevin wondered briefly if he'd filmed the inside of his jacket. Oscar worthy right there folks. Jacket view. Before long both men reappeared on the video a stunned look on Nick's face as Kevin came closer and closer before pressing his lips to the blonde. From the angle Kevin had been holding the phone you could see the moment Kevin's tongue reached out to touch Nick's lips. You could see the resistance, the scared look on the younger man's face before he opened his mouth to speak. Not giving him a chance to respond, Kevin had proceeded to shove his tongue in the other man's mouth, choking and startling the blonde. But the video also showed the way Kevin pushed the man up against the wall, showed the moment Nick submitted to Kevin's will and wrapped his arms around Kevin's neck, falling into the kiss. This was part of the video that hadn't been shared with the others. This extended cut if you will, lived only on Kevin's phone and now played over and over in Kevin's mind. A beautiful train wreck stuck on repeat.
He turned up the heat in the shower, determined to get the visions of the video out of his head. He'd signed off on the press release even though there were a few things he would have changed under ordinary circumstances, but the will to fight had left him for the evening. All he wanted to do was climb into bed and try to pretend morning would never come. Was that too much to ask? The words Brian had spat at him kept echoing in his head and as hard as he tried he couldn't get the idea if raping the younger man out of his head. He tried to convince himself that if Nick had responded to him then, and by the video it seemed like he did, then there was a good chance that he had responded to him later on as well. Kevin was almost sure of it. If they'd had sex, and he wasn't even convinced yet they had, but if so, than it had been consential. At least in their drug and alcohol addled minds at the time.
Kevin finished washing and turned off the shower. He knew his time alone was quickly coming to an end. For the next few months, hell more than a year he would have a little lost shadow again. It struck him then that this wouldn't be that different from the first years they had formed this group, when Nick had been so little and needed the guidance and reassurance that he was right there all the time. Nick had been his shadow then too. Kevin didn't go anywhere without Nick in tow. Perhaps that's when this deadly alliance had all started. When the need to separate himself from the younger man, for his own perseverance had begun. Maybe everything really did eventually come full circle.
He grabbed a towel and dried off before tying it loosely around his waist. He'd left his clothes in the room having made a dash to the shower the moment he'd entered the room. He brushed his hair and teeth and took a good look at himself in the mirror. He could do this, he had no unearthly clue how he would manage or pull this off, but he was determined to try. At this point, what else did he have to lose?
Nick threw his bag down on the floor by the closet and took a look around the hotel room. There was only one bed, which meant until they could get a room with two beds Nick would be sleeping on the couch. Just fucking wonderful. Sleeping on a couch with his long frame was only asking for more aches and pains in his already overworked muscles. Perhaps he could call downstairs and request additional blankets, say they spilled something and needed all new bedding and then he could build some kind of pallet of blankets on the floor with the couch cushions. It would be more comfortable than trying to smash his over six foot frame into a five foot at best sofa. He could hear the shower running and knew he had in fact not beaten the other man to the room. Now he would have to face the proverbial music before he was ever able to shower and settle down for the night. He opened the closet doors hoping he could find something to build a bed with. The closet held an extra pillow and another set of sheets. It was better than nothing. He could at least make due until morning. He carried the linen to the living room section of the hotel room and proceeded to take the couch apart. He was just laying out the final sheet when a noise caught his attention.
He felt his mouth go dry as he glanced up to see Kevin emerge from the bathroom, only a towel hanging low on his hips. Nick stared for a moment before quickly looking away to finish his task. Once the bed was done he hurriedly grabbed his duffle bag before locking himself inside the bathroom. Neither man exchanged words and Kevin was left to get dressed in the vacant room. Leaning back against the door of the bathroom, Nick took several deep breaths before pushing himself off the frame and undressing. He only hoped that by the time he was clean and dressed that Kevin would already be asleep so he could slip into his bed unscathed.
No such luck on that front. By the time Nick had showered, shaved, brushed his teeth, and even given himself an additional ten minutes to sit and relax in the steamy room only 45 minutes had passed. Somehow without even opening the door, Nick knew Kevin was still awake. He took a deep breath, resigned himself to his fate and opened the door. He didn't even look in the general direction of the bed, instead focusing on his own makeshift bed and making a mad dash to it. He could feel rather than see the older man on the bed but was determined to try to at least get through the evening without a giant blow up. He almost laughed as he imagined the other guys standing on the other side of the hotel room door listening for signs of violence. His smile grew as he reached his bed and read a text from Brian.
Brian : "You still alive in there?"
He sat down on the couch cushion and stretched his long legs out in front of him before answering.
"So far. I just got out of the shower so he's not had any time to come at me yet. We'll see. I just want to go to bed and try to have some peace tonight."
Brian: "If he gets too bad you can sneak over here. We'll have to sneak you back before anyone wakes up, but the door is open."
"Thanks B. If he will just leave me alone so I can sleep then we should be okay."
Brian: "I'm here if you need anything."
Nick smiled at the exchange. It was nice to know that he had a friend, a place to go if it got too bad even if they would have to sneak around. The irony of the situation was not lost on him. Usually couples had to sneak around to be together, he however was in a fucked up situation where he had to sneak around with his best friend to just avoid his fucking husband. This was insane. Him having a husband at all was insane. Why couldn't he have drunkenly married any of the other guys? Hell drunk marrying AJ would have actually been kind of fun. They would have made the most of the two years and could almost imagine the crazy shenanigans they would have gotten into. But instead, he had to marry Kevin, and bring his worst nightmare down around him.
"Why are you sleeping on the floor?"
The question caught him off guard and broke the trace he seemed to have been in, imagining his imprisonment with AJ instead. Nick shook his head slightly to clear his thoughts before turning to focus on the other man. "What?"
Kevin gestured to the makeshift bed as he drew closer. "I said, why are you sleeping on the floor."
Nick stared at him for a moment trying not to come up with a smart ass answer. "I'm too long for the couch. I figured I would get better sleep this way than trying to shove myself into a pretzel to fit on the tiny sofa."
Kevin continued to look at him. "You're not going to fight me for the bed."
Nick shrugged. "It's your room. Sleeping on the bed is not worth the fight. I can sleep right here and actually get some sleep instead of staying up and arguing with you all night about who gets to sleep in the bed."
Demonstrating his point, Nick pulled up the sheet and rolled over onto his side, his back facing Kevin. He could feel the older man's gaze boring holes in his back but he made no effort to engage with him any further. Nick shut his eyes tight and willed the other man to leave him be. Kevin stood there for a few moments longer before walking back to the bedroom and flicking off the lights. Nick breathed a sigh of relief and settled down into the sheets. Yes tomorrow he would definitely need a thicker blanket. Maybe he could even have Brian get one for him as to not draw any undo suspension on them. As he finally willed his body to relax and drift off to sleep he was reminded that though brief, that was the first conversation the two men had shared without argument or insult in years.