The Longest Day
"God, Nick, you look terrible." Brian said as he passed Nick in the hotel hallway. "Are you feeling okay?"
"Um, yeah, fine." Nick mumbled as he kept his head down while he walked.
"Are you sure, you have some pretty dark circles under your eyes. Are you getting enough sleep?" Brian quizzed Nick.
Nick was starting to feel defensive.
"I said I was fine, can you leave it at that?"
Brian threw his hands up in the air. "Man, it was only a question, don't go postal over it, okay? Geesh!"
Nick threw himself across his bed once safely inside his hotel room. As he lay staring up at the white tiled ceiling, he couldn't help but start to let his mind wander. Nick recalled how much simpler life had been for him ten years ago. He could go anywhere, do anything without being pestered by people or mobbed in a store. Nick desperately wanted to go out. He desired it more than anything in the world. He was tired of being cooped up in a hotel room day after day, night after night.
Nick sat up in the bed and leaned over, resting his elbows on his knees and holding his head in his hands. He could hear the screams in his head of the girls that were running after him only hours ago. Nick wanted it to stop, he wanted just be a normal 19 year old and do normal 19 year old things. He was tired of being trapped. He was upset about his breakup with Jenna last week. "I just can't share you with anyone and if I can't have you all to myself, I don't want you at all, this is just too crazy." Those words still stung his heart as he heard them go through his mind.
Nick tried to shake the thoughts from his head. "Think about something else, Nick, be positive."
A knock at the door brought Nick back out of his deep thoughts. Looking through the peep hole in the door, he wasn't suprised to see Brian standing in the hallway. Reluctantly, Nick opened the door to let him in.
"Alright Nick, spill it, something's buggin you and I want to know what it is!" Brian said as he sat on the edge of the bed.
Nick refused to share the dark secret he was hiding. "Um, just a little tired, worn out from being on the road for so long, Brian, trust me, I'm okay."
Brian eyed Nick suspiciously. "I guess if you say you're just tired, I suppose I have to take that answer as truthful. Are you ready to go to the auditorium for rehearsal?"
"Yeah, I guess so." Nick said as he bent over to tie his shoes.
Brian was concerned at how quiet and withdrawn Nick had become. During the ride over to the audiotrium, Nick sat quietly looking out the window. There weren't any emotions on his face, it looked like a blank wall.
At the rehearsal, AJ commented to Brian that Nick appeared to be "out of it." Kevin yelled at Nick several times to keep in sync with the rest of the group. Howie even became annoyed when Nick would miss a cue for him to start singing a portion of a song.
"What is up with him?" AJ whispered to Brian. "He's been acting weird ever since Toronto, it's got to be bad if I noticed it!"
Brian shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, he says he's just tired. I've asked him a couple of times and I keep getting the same answer from him. I guess when you look at Nick, he does look pretty tired, dark circles under his eyes and stuff. Let's just hope he snaps out of this quick, I'm getting worried."
Nick was again quiet after the rehearsal, he took his seat in the van and never uttered a word. He slouched down in his seat and looked out the window at the scenery. He looked past the fans that were standing outside the auditorium waiting for autographs.
"Gosh, doesn't Nick look sad?" A young fan said as she saw Nick get into the van.
Without so much as a goodbye, Nick slid the card to his room into the slot and walked in. He barely heard Brian call out after him, reminding him that he needed to be ready in two hours for the concert.
Sitting down slowly, Nick lay back across his bed. He finally let his emotions take over him and he started to cry hard. Nick took a pillow and laid it over his face to muffle the sounds of his cries.
Exhausted, he tossed the pillow aside after he finished his crying jag. His eyes fell onto the prescription bottle of pain killers that had been prescribed to him last week for pain after he had fallen and hurt his shoulder. Leaning over, Nick picked up the vial and looked at it. There were still over 20 pills in the bottle. He shook the vial as he thought about how awful he felt.
Nick decided that the only way to get the peace he desired, was to stop living. He had grown weary of the crowds that watched his every move. He lost his one love because of the crowds, the obsessive fans, living life on the road and never being home.
Nick emptied the contents of the vial into his hand. He shoved the pills into his mouth and swallowed them with a gulp of water. He laid back on the bed and closed his eyes, waiting for the eternal sleep to wash over him.
Brian beat on the door to Nick's hotel room. He could hear the TV set blaring loudly and figured that Nick couldn't hear because of it. Brian saw a housekeeper walking down the hall and he sprinted towards her.
"My friend isn't answering his door and I was hoping you could let me into his room, he has the television on just a tad bit too loud and I think that's why he isn't answering."
The housekeeper eyed Brian up and down. "Well, normally I shouldn't be doing this, but I kinda know who you are, so I suppose it will be okay." The young woman smiled.
"Great, thanks a bunch." Brian relied happily.
The housekeeper followed Brian back towards Nick's room. As she prepared to open his door, she noticed the volume of the television set as well.
"Yeah, I see what you're saying about the loud TV." She smiled as the door unlocked and she held it open for Brian.
Brian smiled. "Thanks again, I appreciate this." He walked past her into Nick's room.
Entering the room, Brian found Nick lying on the bed, face down, his hand on the telephone. Brian smacked the bottom of Nick's feet. "Hey Nicky, time to get up!"
There was no response from Nick. Determined to wake
him up, Brian shook Nick on the shoulder. "Hey, Nick, come on, you don't want to be late for the show!" Still no response from Nick.
Brian was now starting to get worried. He took Nick by the shoulder and turned his body over. As Nick rolled over, Nick took a deep breath in. Brian knew immediately that Nick was in trouble. His lips were a bluish color and his face was completely pale. Not knowing for sure what to do, Brian grabbed the phone and dialed AJ's room.
"AJ, Nick's room, NOW." Brian yelled into the phone and slammed the receiver back down. What seemed to take forever, but was only a few moments, Brian heard AJ and Kevin pounding on the door.
When Brian opened the door, AJ darted past him and into the room. He grabbed Nick by the shoulders and sat him up. Nick's head flopped backwards.
"What the hell did Nick do to himself? What's wrong with him!" AJ demanded.
Brian's eyes scanned the room to look for something out of the ordinary or out of place. His eyes fell on the empty prescription bottle laying on the floor beside the bed. Brian picked it up. "Oh, god, Nick took these." Dazed, Brian sat down on the other bed.
AJ was hitting Nick across the cheeks trying to wake him up. Seeing Brian sit down, AJ yelled at him.
"Brian! Go get a shitload of coffee. Kevin, I need you to grab Nick's other arm, we're gonna go make him get sick after we put him in a cold shower.
Brian ran out of the room to the hotel restaurant. He knew that AJ would instinctively know what to do, he was pretty street smart and could deal in these situations better than Brian ever could. Their main objective was to avoid calling an ambulance at all costs, they didn't want this to get out to the news.
AJ and Kevin dragged Nick into the shower and turned the cold water on. AJ kept slapping Nick's face hoping to stimulate him into waking up a little. Nick's head rolled from front to back.
Frustraited, AJ yelled at Nick. "Come on, snap out of it, don't be pulling this on me Nick!"
Nick started coughing as the water was spraying into his face. He started to cry as the cold water stung his face.
Brian came back into the room with a pot of strong black coffee. AJ and Kevin pulled Nick out of the shower and sat him down at a table and forced him to drink the coffee. Nick sobbed and was uncooperative. Brian put his face into Nick's face.
"Nick, you gotta do this, come on, if you don't things will be worse and you'll get sick." Brian tried to reason with Nick. He put the thought of Nick laying unconscious out of his head.
As Kevin put the cup to Nick's mouth, Nick refused to open and clamped his lips shut.
"Dammit Nick, come on, drink this now!" Kevin demanded.
Nick's only response was him starting to cry again. He was upset and confused. He didn't know why the guys were in his room and he was unsure why they were trying to stop what he set out to do. "Just leave me alone." Nick moaned.
Brian sat down and faced Nick. "Look at me Nick. Why? Why do you want to do this to yourself?"
Nick looked up and into Brian's face. He saw the hurt in his eyes. Nick quickly looked away from Brian.
"Nick, what can be so bad? I want to help you, we want to help you. Can you please just tell me, I will try to fix whatever it is that hurt you so much." Brian pleaded with Nick, his voice breaking as he tried to keep himself from crying.
All Nick could do was start crying again. He felt as if nothing was going right for him and now he was embarrassed to think that he got caught doing this to himself.
Kevin squatted down in front of Nick. He signed. "Nicky, think about all of us, all of your fans, we want to help whatever is bothing you."
Nick stared at Kevin. He couldn't say anything.
Brian paced back and forth in the room, trying to think of what to do. AJ whispered in Brian's ear. "He can't go on tonight like this. We have to cancel."
Brian nodded. He whispered back to AJ, "I think I know who Nick needs to talk to."
Brian sat in the room watching Nick sleep in the bed. He was worried about his friend. It hurt him to think that Nick was so upset that he wouldn't reach out to his friends for help. He always told Nick, nothing is ever that bad that you can't go to a friend for help.
Brian's thoughts were interrupted by a faint knock on the door. He walked to the door and looked through the peep hole to see Jane Carter and Aaron standing in the hallway.
When he opened the door, Jane and Brian hugged. Aaron rushed right past them and directly into the room to his older brother. He stopped by the bed and just stared at Nick, watching him sleep.
"How is he, Brian?" Jane asked softly.
"Still the same, he's been sleeping ever since I called you. He has no idea that I called either." Brian said as he looked at Aaron standing at the bed with a sorrowful look.
"Aaron, go ahead and wake him up." Brian said.
Aaron looked up at Brian. He was afraid to.
"It's okay, he will be glad to see you." Brian assured him.
Aaron hesitantly pushed Nick's shoulder. Nick moaned and rolled away from Aaron. Aaron pushed Nick on the back. Nick rolled back over and slowly opened his eyes and looked directly at Aaron. A puzzled look came over his face.
"AC, what are you doing here?" Nick asked quietly.
"Brian called and said you needed me, so Mom and me caught the first flight out here." Aaron said in a tiny voice.
"Shit, Mom's here?" Nick said as he leaned up on his elbows.
"Nickolas Gene Carter!" Jane instinctively repremanded Nick for using a four letter word.
Nick's head turned in the direction of his mother's voice. Upon seeing Jane, he broke down and started to cry.
"Nick, why did you want to leave me?" Aaron asked.
Nick grabbed his little brother and started hugging him. "I'm so sorry, Aaron. God, I don't know what I was thinking."
"What is wrong honey?" As Jane asked, she sat down on the bed beside Nick. "Tell me, I want to help, Brian wants to help."
Nick took a deep breath in and sighed. "I dunno, I was stupid and self centered. I never realized how many people count on me and I just wasn't thinking clearly."
Jane smoothed Nick's hair away from his face. She could see that he was upset and it hurt her to think she couldn't reach out to him and help him.
"I'm okay now Mom, please, you and Brian have to believe me. This has passed, I was just being stupid is all." Nick begged.
Nick looked down at Aaron's face and saw the tears in his eyes. He wanted to forget the pain he almost caused his family by a moment of selfishness.
"I'm the luckiest guy alive and I should always remind myself that. Brian, I am so sorry, I should have come to you in the first place, this definately was not the way to solve my problems. I swear I will never do this again, I swear to God." Nick pleaded with them.
Brian rubbed Nick on the back. "God, Nick, just don't ever do this ever again, I was afraid I had lost you. I couldn't live without you, god, if I had waited another hour--" Brian's voice trailed off as tears filled his eyes again.
Nick saw the hurt and started to cry. "I promise, never again."
Aaron and Brian hugged Nick tightly.