“Happy Birthday!” Kevin said when Nick walked into the recording studio that morning, holding a cup of coffee. It was unusual for him to be on time but that day he seemed a little off. He didn’t look happy. He gave Kevin a half hearted smile and sat down while they waited for the others to get there.
“Are you all right?” Kevin asked. Nick's body language said he was not happy at all.
Nick sipped at his coffee and shrugged, taking off his sunglasses and putting them in his pocket. His eyes were red as if he'd spent time crying before he came to the recording studio. He sat there quietly for a minute as if he were thinking up a lie to cover for the fact he was clearly upset.
“I’ll be okay....I mean, it’s my birthday. What could be better than spending it with you guys?” Nick scoffed.
Kevin felt so bad that Nick felt this way and he didn't say anything. He just looked at the floor.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it the way I came out….” he quickly apologized when he saw Kevin's expression.
Kevin didn’t say anything, he just let Nick talk. Nobody else was there but the two of them.
“It’s just...I’m 24. I thought I’d be somewhere else in my life right now. Not being on a leash and being led around like someone’s trained poodle. Her people aren’t my people. They were born into this whole other world that I don’t belong in. I grew up living in the back of a pickup truck on a mattress, sleeping outside because we didn’t have a place to live. She grew up in a mansion and always had money, had servants and all kinds of shit. What does she see in me? I’m a loser, Kevin. The only reason I’m on time to work today is because I had a huge fight with her this morning. I can’t do anything right, Kev. Why doesn’t she love me?” Nick asked, his eyes watering.
“I’m sure she does, Nick. You can’t think like that, you're not the problem. There's plenty of people who love you and care about you.” Kevin said softly. He put an arm around Nick and hugged him but Nick shrugged him off, his eyes watering.
“Nobody loves me because I'm a fucking loser. Happy fucking birthday to me.” he said dejectedly, crossing his arms and sighing.
Kevin reached inside his own coat pocket and pulled out his present for Nick, wrapped in silver wrapping paper.
“I was going to give this to you later at dinner, but I think that you could use it now.” Kevin told him. Nick wiped his eyes and took it, holding it for a moment and staring at it as if it were going to unwrap itself. He and Kevin sat there in silence before Nick finally began to unwrap the present. It was a book. Nick seemed confused.
“What is this for?” Nick asked as he looked up at him.
"It's a book to help you, I thought you could use some positivity in your life. You are so down on yourself all the time and I want you to remember that we care about you and we love you. You're my baby brother and I'll always care about you." Kevin replied, smiling as he tried not to tear up.
Nick hugged Kevin, who took this as a thank you for the gift. He didn't say much else because the others arrived and he stuffed the book into his coat pocket, pretending that nothing had happened, even when Paris showed up to the recording studio with paparazzi and a birthday cake. Everyone would have really enjoyed the gesture except that Paris had her own face put on the cake. Nick looked like he wanted to hide under the table. He later told Kevin thank you again for trying to cheer him up with the book.
Kevin didn't even think Nick would actually read the book but he knew Nick appreciated just simply being shown someone cared about him.
Some years later, Kevin had been watching Nick on Dr. Phil and was incredibly touched to see that Nick had read the book and regarded it as one of his most prized possessions. He still had it and credited it for helping him when he needed it most.
“I didn’t know you gave him that book for his birthday. I remember you telling me that you couldn’t think of a present to give him. Did you end up deciding on that?” Kristin asked as she sat next to Kevin on the living room couch.
“He was going through such a hard time at the time that I thought he needed something to lift his spirits. He was so hard on himself and so negative that I worried he was going to end up like AJ. Nick wasn’t as bad off as AJ was with the alcohol as far as I know, but the problem was there. So I gave him that book thinking maybe it would save him. I guess I was right. Look at him now. He’s healthy and he’s making good choices.” Kevin smiled as he watched Nick speak. Kevin was happy he helped Nick get a second chance and hoped that eventually he would give him a second chance too.