Kevin almost chuckled as he talked to his cousin on the phone, Brian always had a knack for being blunt about things.
“No. I went to dinner at his house but he got busy with a phone call and had to excuse himself.” he explained.
“Oh. Well I went to talk to management and they said you coming back would not be a problem. They’d love to discuss things as soon as we have time, before it’s time for our cruise. In fact, they want to invite you to come as a guest.” Brian said as if he were still trying to process it all happening. Kevin raised his eyebrows, he wasn’t expecting the new management to be so accepting of him and a possible return. He was surprised that Brian had talked to them already because he wasn’t expecting any of the guys to want him back. He wondered why he thought that way, but chalked it up to him simply being nervous and his anxiety over it all trying to talk himself out of it. Maybe that was why talking to Nick was so important. If Nick didn’t think this was a good idea it would confirm his fears that maybe they didn't need him after all.
“Is that so? Who said that, Jen?” Kevin asked.
It wasn’t a secret that Kevin didn’t approve of the current BSB manager...he had heard of her having a fling with AJ and wasn’t sure if this was true, but the boys often joked about her being a hands on manager. She seemed very young, as was the company that managed them...Wonderful Union.
“Yes, they think that a surprise visit from you would be great for the fans. She wants to have a meeting with all of us to go over everything because we need to go over themes and stuff anyway. The themes are going to be announced soon.” Brian explained.
“That sounds great.” Kevin lied. The thought of a meeting with everyone gave him anxiety and he almost told Brian to forget the whole thing because it would be so awkward.
“You don’t sound excited.” Brian pointed out.
“Well, all of this depends on Nick. I really want his blessing to come back before I come to any meetings or cruises, but he’s so busy.”
"I see. Why is it so important to you that Nick is okay with this anyway? He's not the boss, it shouldn't matter." Brian muttered.
There was a long pause and Kevin smiled because he could literally hear the gears turning in his cousin’s head. Brian was great at solving things, he was the brains behind their lawsuit against Lou Pearlman. He pushed the issue of them not getting their full paychecks and if it wasn’t for him, they’d never have gotten out of their contract. Kevin was thankful for his cousin in many ways but that was just one of them. He was practically a brother to him.
"Brian, I asked the four of you. It wouldn't be fair if I didn't consider his opinion too. He's a member of the group just like you are. I'd rather talk to him about it."
“I know….why don’t you come anyway and you can still talk to Nick about it? We will all be together and I think it would be good in case there is an issue between you two still.” Brian suggested. Kevin did not like this idea because he knew right away Nick would not appreciate being the last one to know that he was coming back. He knew how this would go because it had happened before...when they all had a meeting concerning Nick and his solo record and what would happen with the group’s future should he leave. He was late and thought they were plotting to kick him out of the band, and only calmed down after they all talked to him. Nick did not control his emotions well and they all knew it.
“No, I don’t want to overwhelm him. He’s going to think we all met privately without him and are ganging up on him. You know how he is with his anxiety. He’s going to feel betrayed.” Kevin pointed out.
“Hmm, well how are you going to talk to him then? Catch him between interviews or something? The cruise is in two months, I’d get him while you’re still in Nashville. Like tonight. I know you want to get his blessing but if you don't we might just move forward, it's not like he let us give our blessings when he did his first solo record." Brian told him, bitterness hanging on the last words. Kevin was quiet for a moment because he knew how Brian felt when it came to Nick's solo career.
"I'm just saying, consider what I said." Brian added.
Kevin nodded, trying to think of a way to get together where they would not be interrupted by Nick’s manager or anyone else. Nick seemed so busy, maybe he was too busy for him. In a way Kevin was proud of him, because the first time Nick went solo the guys were at a point in their lives where they were beginning to be burnt out, and there was a lot of pressure from the label to release more music. However, they were starting to lose their inspiration. Kevin remembered how they took a bit of a break and let Nick do his solo thing.
"This is just something that I need to do for myself. I’m not leaving the band...I wish you guys would see it the way that I do.” Nick explained to Kevin one day after another fight with Brian. Nick didn't understand why Brian was so angry over the solo album, but it had come as a surprise to everyone. Some of the guys felt that Nick had blindsided them with it. Nick hadn't talked to them much about any of it and they felt a little betrayed.
“I totally understand wanting to venture off on your own.” Kevin offered. He knew more than anyone.
Nick’s face scrunched up and he laughed.
“Can you tell Brian, because he was pretty pissed at me during that meeting. He barely talked to me after and stopped answering my texts. I'm sorry I didn't talk to you guys, this is just something I need to do on my own for a little bit." he explained.
Kevin smiled back because he knew how stubborn his cousin was especially when it came to Nick and the future of the group. All of them were pretty certain that Nick was going to leave them high and dry. Personally at this point, Kevin didn’t really care either way because he was getting burnt out. They all were. He was welcoming any type of break he could get at the time.
“He just needs some time. ” Kevin said thoughtfully.
Nick stared off out the window and sighed.
“I don’t want the band to break up, Kevin. You guys are my family.”
Kevin understood at the time more than any of the guys how Nick felt but he never told him.
Kevin decided to pick up the phone and call him to get together before he got tied up with any more of his solo work or group things. It was now or never.