"I think that one sounds the best," Brian Littrell said to the other four guys, taking off his headphones. They were comparing remixes of their next single.
"I agree with Rok," A.J. McLean seconded.
"Me too," Howie Dorough agreed.
"Me too," Kevin Richardson echoed.
There was a silence as everyone stared at Nick Carter, the fifth Boy.
"Uhm...Frack?" Brian said.
"Huh? Oh...yeah, that one's good," Nick said quickly, rubbing his forehead.
Brian frowned with concern at his best friend. "Let's take five, guys," he suggested.
The other guys mumbled approval and went to go get drinks and snacks. Nick stayed seated. Brian sighed and moved to take the seat next to him.
"What's up, Frack?"
Nick took a deep breath. "Nothing. Just thinking..." He looked to Brian with confused eyes. "What if Katie isn't dead?"
Brian swallowed. "Nick, we've been through this. They found that car by the side of the road, and it was empty, and it was the kind that Katie was driving, and—"
"Yeah, matched the description perfectly, but...what if that's just circumstantial?" Nick asked, frowning. "What if she's out there somewhere?"
"Nick, I hate to break it to you, but if she is out there, by now she probably would have seen your picture somewhere, realized, 'Oh my G-d, that's my brother,' and found some way to contact you," Brian pointed out.
"What if she doesn't know? What if she's one of those people who doesn't follow pop culture? There are people like that, B," Nick reminded him.
"But why wouldn't she have come back home?" Brian wondered.
Nick looked down, realizing that Brian had pinpointed the discrepancy in his argument. "I don't know..."
"Nick..." Brian took a deep breath. "Katie is gone. I'm sorry, I know that it's really hard to deal with, especially when you haven't even seen her body, but it's the truth. I'm sorry. I know that you loved her very much, but she's passed on. Jeez, Nick, it's been ten years. Why are you thinking about it now all of a sudden?"
Nick shrugged. "I don't know. Look, I'm thirsty, you want anything to drink?"
Brian sighed, knowing what Nick was doing. He always ran away like that whenever he felt uncomfortable talking about something, and Brian had learned from experience that you just had to wait until he was ready to talk. "Nah, I'm good."
"All right...be right back," Nick said as he walked out of the room.
His brow furrowed into an expression of fury as he went down the hall to the drink machines. No. Brian was wrong. Katie was alive. She had to be. He could feel her presence, he just didn't know where it was coming from. Besides, there was no solid proof that she was dead. Just circumstantial evidence, like he had said before.
Nick thought about Brian's question and pursed his lips. He didn't know why he was
thinking about his older sister all of a sudden. Although she had never been far from his mind for
the past ten years, something had made the thoughts of what had happened to her overpowering on
this day. Maybe it was a sign, maybe... Nick groaned. I'm hopeless. Brian is probably right.
She probably is dead. Nick swallowed hard as he got a can of ginger ale from the machine and
took a sip. He'd call Lex, that's what he'd do. She could always make him feel better. She was his
girlfriend of a year—the single steady thing in his life that changed so much from day to day. Nick
loved her with all of his heart, and he hoped to marry her someday. He didn't tell her that, though.
It would just scare her; she had some commitment issues. Nick smiled softly as he pulled out his
cell phone and dialed her number. A phone conversation with Lex was probably just what he