The house was dark and cold. The pelts of rain hitting the windows started off soft and unthreatening before it began to pour heavily and hit like bullets. Thunders and lightning were beginning to make their presence, breaking the dark clouds apart from time to time. He sat there on the couch, biting his nails and fixing his gaze forward, where the black screen of the television stared back at him.
It remained that way ever since he received the last phone call. The one that had managed to frighten him into silence. The one that would be responsible for his next course of actions.
He stood up abruptly, as if his mind was already made up. He felt the blood pumping in his heart, the beat like a continuous drum on some Red Indian rituals; it got to a point where it hurt his ears and resulted in the soft dull throbbing of his head. He swallowed hard, hoping to clear the nausea that had appeared out of nowhere. Grabbing the bunch of keys and his wallet on the table, he made his way to the door in big strides, as if running from some unforeseen danger that was chasing him. It was getting closer.
The door swung open and he paused, shocked by the cold that hit his face like thousands of knives. Outside, the heavy clouds, the dark gloomy shadows and the heavy rain awaited him. Lightning tore the sky from afar, breaking the horizon and lighting up the surrounding for a mere second before a clap of thunder rolled, booming the very ground he was standing on. He looked back, into the dark house and studied the place one last time, stilling the picture before locking the door and making a run for his Escalade waiting at the front porch.
He jammed his key into the slot and twisted it. Pushing the silver button, he clutched the icy handle and yanked the door open as fast as he could. By the time he was safely inside the car, his white shirt was completely drenched and his fingers were trembling. He didn’t wait long, knew he didn’t have much time left, and turned the engine on. He jumped when music started blaring from the stereo, managed a small smile when he realised it was Puddle of Mudd, but quickly switched it off. Silence fell around him once more, unsettling. Can you take it all away…
He gripped the wheels tightly, wanting for the numbness to go away. He switched the wipers [not sure what they’re called, lol] on, watched it swished back and forth, clearing his view. He noticed the light in his room was still on and decided it would be too late to go back inside. And he definitely wasn’t looking forward to getting drenched a second time around.
“Steady now Nick.” He whispered under his breath. It sounded shaky, he was loosing his battle with the cold and that small part of him, the one who refused to sit around and be patient, was getting agitated. He needed to get away now.
The tires squealed as he floored the gas pedal, and the car began to race over the gravel ground, slipping from side to side, noisily spitting a tidal wave of gravel behind it. He manoeuvred out of his porch and sped his way out of the compound of his house and into the dark, wet road, never once looking back to the life he was leaving behind.
A broken crayon was begging him to put him back together with the help of some masking tape. It was yellow and had the irritating voice of one Howie D.
Please Brian, don’t throw me away, you can put me back together again. It’s not my fault that I’m broken! If only kids would appreciate things such as myself, we wouldn’t be so easily forsaken. Besides, I’m Yellow, everybody needs some yellow to colour anyway. I’m the bright light that shines every picture pasted on the fridge! Come on, help me put myself back together, just like you help to fix hearts.
It was between the begging and the constant pulling of his arm that he heard the soft ringing of his cell phone from a distant. It lingered for a while before it hit him that he should probably answer it.
He awoke to a dark, unfamiliar room. That alone clued him in the fact that he wasn’t at home. After feeling a bit dampened by that, he acknowledged the reason why he was there in the first place. The Backstreet Boys were back in the studio again, just like the old times, only better. He smiled.
A clap of thunder woke him from the remaining of his sleep and immediately reminded him of the very reason why he was up in the first place. His cell phone was ringing. He groped in the dark, searching for it and grunted softly when he couldn’t find it.
“Damn it, where is that damn thing?” Frustrated, he tried switching the table lamp, it worked on the first try. Proud of the little feat, he smiled when he saw the cell phone lying on the side table. “I swear I searched that spot.” Shaking his head, he yawned and answered the phone.
“Let me guess, you’re freaked out by the thunder?” He stifled the laughter, the image of a very pissed off Nick Carter, hidden under folds of comforter and blankets, invaded him. “You’re not exactly fourteen anymore bro.”
Nick didn’t say a word but Brian knew he was there, he could hear the heavy breathing loud and clear. “Nick?”
The line was cut off shortly after and Brian snickered, tickled by how easy it was to ruffle Nick’s feathers. He yawned loudly and stretched his limbs before he hit the speed dial.
“AJ, are you in the middle of…something?”
“Yes Rok, it’s called sleeping! You know, normal people sleep during this time of the night.”
“But you don’t like being normal. Your choice of hairstyle speaks the truth.”
“Is there a reason why you called this early?”
“Um yeah…I need your help.”
“Whatever it is, I’ll help you with it tomorrow morning, when there’s actually natural light and I’m awake.”
“Nick called me and I kinda pissed him off.”
“So I think he’s actually afraid and lonely and needs to talk to someone. I figured you could call and check if he’s okay.”
“He’s fucking 24 Brian.”
“He’s not fucking 24 Brian.”
“You’re not funny, at all.”
“Come on J, just call him, please? I’ll owe you one.”
“Don’t you think he can take care of himself by now? We can’t keep smothering him all the time.”
“Right now is an exception. You know he’s having problems lately, just call him, please?”
“This is a huge one dude.”
“I know. Thanks.”
Brian sighed, sitting in the dark and trying to recall what just happened. Memories of what they had done the day before came rushing. So they were in LA, with the rest of the guys back at their own houses while he stayed in the hotel. Howie had offered to have him stay over at his house but he had declined it for that night. He had been staying over at Nick’s and AJ’s place from time to time but that night, he wanted his alone time, where he could spent hours just lying in bed and talk to his wife.
He laughed, remembering what he had dreamt earlier. “Yellow crayon Brian? Man, you’re off the loop.” Not too long ago, before he left for LA, he decided to introduce Baylee to crayons. Within minutes, he had managed to break a yellow crayon and handed him a masking tape for daddy to fix it. He sighed; he must have missed home more than he would admit.
Another clap of thunder roared and he shivered involuntarily. His mind was brought back to Nick. The man got easily offended by little things they said recently that it was difficult to just hang around him in the beginning. It became better though, when they decided to sit down and talk about it. Things were going well, Brian especially made sure that Nick was never left alone for too long and always made sure his mind doesn’t wander around to the troubled waters that was bugging him. This time around, they had decided to help him out, rather than dump him in a room with a total stranger. Brian doubt he could face another psychiatrist again, not after what happened to Johnathan Reitt.
Something must have triggered the bad memories that night, and he couldn’t help feeling guilty for mocking him the way he did. As he lay back to sleep, that familiar groggy feeling starting to take over, he could only hoped Nick wouldn’t shut AJ out too.