Warning: This is a fictional story, describing erotic relations
between consenting adult men. If this makes you uncomfortable, or if it is
illegal for you to read something like this, then go find something else to do.
The following story is entirely a work of fiction, and is not intended to imply anything about any real people. All of the characters in the story are fictional, and must not be confused with any real people. The characters in this story may have the same names as some real people, but the characters are in no way supposed to actually represent any real people.
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Before this chapter starts, I'd like to take a moment to thank those of you who have taken the time to express their appreciation of the story to me. Your comments have been uniformly kind, and have made writing this much easier. I'd also like to thank some special friends for their help and encouragement. Please feel free to send me any comments you may have.
Matt slowly became aware of a weight on his chest. Something was moving, caressing his nipple, playing with his chest hair. The weight lifted. He opened his eyes and saw Nick's face smiling down at him.
"Good morning." Nick said. His fingers kept moving, teasing the nipple, and smoothing the soft hair. He traced the muscles in Matt's chest.
Matt smiled. Nick lay down on Matt's chest again. Matt wrapped his arm around Nick, and held him. No words were spoken. They simply held each other.
Suddenly, the phone started to ring. Matt groaned, and reached for it. "Hello?"
"Matt? It's Kevin. Are you guys up yet?"
"Well, we've got about an hour before we've got to be out of here. I've ordered breakfast, and it'll be here in about fifteen minutes. So, you better get moving."
Kevin chuckled. "Didn't Nick tell you? We always try to eat breakfast together. Sometimes it's the only time we can get together and talk about what's going on. You are both expected this morning. So kick that lazy bum out of bed, and get moving."
"Okay. We'll be there."
"Don't forget to bring your coats. It's cold out there today."
"Uh, okay." Matt hung up the phone.
"Why didn't you tell him no?" Nick asked. "I just want to stay here with you today."
"Well, I know you can't do that. As tempting as it might be to stay here, you've got work to do today. So, we've got to get going."
"But, Howie and AJ are going to be there. I don't want to see them."
Matt giggled. "They're going to be so hung over this morning."
Nick laughed. "Yeah, that's for sure. I forgot."
"Come on. Let's get going."
They got up, and took turns in the bathroom. Nick had a shower, while Matt shaved. Then Nick got his hair under control while Matt showered. They hardly got in each other's way at all. It wasn't long before they were both dressed, and standing outside of Kevin's door.
Matt knocked, and Brian opened the door. "Good morning" Matt said.
"Hi Matt. Come on in."
Matt walked into the room, followed by Nick. Almost as soon as he heard the door close, Matt felt Nick's arms wrap around him.
Kevin was sitting at the table, eating. The table was filled with food, and Matt could smell the coffee. Over in the corner of the room, he could see AJ and Howie slumped in their chairs. Neither looked up.
"You guys look like you're in a good mood today" Kevin said.
Matt smiled. He felt Nick lean over and whisper in his ear "Of course. You're here."
"Come on, let's eat." Matt said. "That coffee smells good." Matt and Nick started over toward the table.
"It's a good thing I ordered extra coffee." Kevin said. "It's all Howie and AJ are interested in this morning. I think they went a bit overboard last night."
Matt and Nick found seats, and Brian joined them at the table. Matt had no trouble filling his plate from the food on the table. And there was lots of coffee. He poured some for both him and Nick. They ate in silence, broken only by the occasional moan from AJ or Howie.
Kevin and Brian both finished long before Matt or Nick started to slow down. "You're as bad as Nick" Kevin said, looking at Matt.
"Nick isn't bad" Matt smiled. "Anyway, Mom says I'll grow out of it. Didn't you eat everything in sight a few years ago?"
Kevin laughed. "Yeah, I guess I did. I can't believe how much you guys eat though."
"Well, someone has to eat it. It doesn't look like they're going to have anything." Nick said. It was clear he was referring to Howie and AJ.
"You're right." Brian said. "They do look rather green this morning."
"So, Kevin." Nick said. "What's the plan for today? There better be a good reason why we can't go back to bed. I'm sure Howie and AJ could do with some more beauty sleep."
Matt and Brian both giggled. Kevin looked sharply at Brian, as if to scold him for encouraging Nick. He said "Well, we've got that interview at Much Music in about 20 minutes. Then we're scheduled to visit the children's hospital this afternoon."
"Oh. I guess it would look strange if we weren't all there, bright and cheery for the interview."
"Yes, it would." Kevin said. He turned to Matt. "Are you coming to the interview with us? You're welcome to come along if you like."
Matt looked at Nick. Clearly Nick wanted him to come. "Well, I don't want anyone to know where I am. So long as I can stay off camera, I don't mind coming along."
"Good." Nick said.
"Well, we should get going." Kevin said, as he stood up. He turned toward Howie and AJ. "Come on you guys, it's time to go."
Kevin managed to get Howie and AJ up and walking toward the door. They really
looked like they were in rough shape this morning. Brian, Nick and Matt followed
them out the door.
Matt was beginning to regret his decision to come along to the interview. The ride over had been very uncomfortable. Without saying anything, Howie had made it very clear he didn't want Matt here. Since they weren't alone, he could only look at Nick, and pretend they were just good friends. He hadn't realized it would be this hard to be this close and not be able to touch Nick.
He watched the guys, as they all got fitted with microphones for the interview. This was sort of an odd way of doing things. Apparently, here at Much Music, the VJs just talked in the middle of the studio, surrounded by the various equipment used to put the show on the air. There wasn't any set at all. The interview itself was going to happen over there by the window. It obviously wasn't a big secret--there were a number of fans out there on the sidewalk, looking in to try and catch a glimpse of the guys. They had even allowed a few of the fans into the studio. There were about a dozen girls here, seated on the floor.
Matt didn't really have any concerns about security though. He'd already seen the security staff in action, when they were brought through the crowd into the studio. And there were almost as many security people here in the studio as there were fans. Obviously, they knew what to expect from the Backstreet Boys' fans.
Apparently, they were all ready to go now. The guys all went over and sat on stools with their backs to the window. The noise of the fans outside was faintly audible over the general noise here. The fans inside had been cautioned to keep quiet. Somehow, Matt didn't think that would last.
Nick had chosen a stool as far away from the interviewer as he could. Brian sat beside him, with Kevin in the middle. Howie and AJ took the other two stools. The guys obviously knew what was going on. Matt guessed they'd been here and done this a few times before.
Someone started to signal the interviewer. Matt recognized it as a short count down. "Hi. This is Rick the Temp, and we're talking with the Backstreet boys. Hi guys." Rick paused, as all of the guys said hello, and the girls in the studio clapped.
"It's good to see you guys back in town. You've been out on tour for a while?"
"Yeah" Kevin said. "We've been spending most of the time touring in the states recently."
"I hear you are doing well down there. It's about time." That got a small laugh from all of the guys.
"So, there are a couple of things I want to know. What happened on Sunday night Nick?"
Nick looked startled. Sunday's concert was the one before Matt had arrived. How was he going to answer this?
Kevin rescued him. "Nick wasn't feeling very well on Sunday. It was a temporary thing. We probably should have cancelled the concert, but we didn't want to disappoint all the fans."
"So, you're okay now Nick?"
"Yeah. It hit me suddenly, but it seems to have gone now. I'm really sorry for making a mess of the concert though."
"It wasn't your fault" Brian said. "But it would be nice to do something to make up to those fans."
"That's a good idea," AJ said. "We're in town for a few more days. Maybe we can set something up?"
Kevin nodded. "We'll see if we can work something out, if not now, the next time we're in town. Be sure to hold onto your ticket stub if you came to Sunday's concert."
"So, what's happening next for you? Is the tour over? When is the new CD going to be ready?"
"Well, we're going to be touring for a little while more." Howie said. "We've got a big European tour coming up, after the CD is released. The CD will be out in May."
Matt was surprised at Howie. He was sitting there, obviously listening to everything that was being said. He seemed to be putting on a good act for someone with a major hangover. If Matt didn't know what was really going on, he wouldn't have guessed by the way he was acting.
"It'll go on sale on May 18th." Kevin said. "The first single should be on the air in April."
"Cool. We'll be looking forward to that." Rick said. "Who did I see you guys come in with? He looked familiar."
"Oh, that was Mathew Lawrence." Howie said. He grinned, and said, "He's in town visiting with us for a few days."
Damn it. Why did Howie have to say that? He knew that Matt didn't want anyone to know where he was! Why couldn't he keep quiet, and let Kevin or Nick deflect the question?
Oh. Matt looked at Howie's big smile, and realized that Howie must be trying to get rid of him. This was bad. If Matt appeared on camera, it was almost certain to get back to the show. He really didn't want to deal with that. And his parents might even hear about it. He knew he should have stayed at the hotel!
"Well, where is he? Let's get him out here."
Matt knew he was stuck now. This was live TV, and there was no way he could get out of it. He looked up, and saw Nick watching him. Nick looked worried--he knew Matt didn't want to do this. Well, there wasn't a choice. Matt got up, and walked over to the group.
"Welcome Matt." Rick said, as he stood and shook Matt's hand. "I'm Rick."
"It's nice to meet you." Matt said. Someone handed Matt a microphone. Boy, they were sure casual around here. He saw someone put another stool into place, at the end beside Nick.
"Come on Matt, you can have my seat" Brian said, as he moved down to the other side of Nick. "You can sit there where Kevin can keep an eye on you."
Everyone laughed at that, and Matt went down and took the seat between Kevin and Nick. He was careful not to look at Nick.
"So, Matt. I hear you're a friend of the guys?" Rick said.
"Um, yeah. Nick and I met at a photo shoot in LA one day. We got to talking and had a good time. We've kept in touch ever since."
"Cool. I saw Nick on Boy Meets World. It looked like you had fun doing that."
"Yeah, I sort of lost it when a fan recognized Nick."
"I got you back for that though," Nick said.
"Was that when you dragged Matt onstage at the LA concert?" Rick said.
Nick nodded. "He wasn't expecting that."
"That's for sure." Matt said.
"Who knew he could sing like that?" Brian said.
"I heard that duet was really something special. Any chance you'll give us a sample guys?" Rick said.
Oh no. Matt didn't want to do this.
"Actually, my voice is still a bit sore. Sorry Rick. Maybe next time?" Nick said. Nick knew without looking at Matt that he wouldn't want to sing now.
"That's too bad. So, Matt. Tell me--what are the guys really like when they're not out in public?"
Matt smiled. "Actually, they really surprise me. I wouldn't have thought any group of people could spend so much time together without getting on each other's nerves."
"You mean, they don't fight?"
"Sure, they fight. They wouldn't be human if they didn't disagree sometimes. But they always seem to be able to figure out something that everyone can live with. I really envy them. They really care about each other." Matt could see AJ as he talked with Rick. AJ was watching him, and seemed to be surprised by Matt's words.
"I haven't really gotten to know Howie or AJ very well, but Kevin, Brian and Nick are really nice people. I've been in show business for a long time, and I honestly don't think I've ever known a better bunch of guys. Maybe actors are different because we move between shows more often, but in my experience, most people are looking out for themselves first. These guys think about each other first."
"Wow. That really is nice to hear Matt. Well, I'm glad you were here to talk with us. Thanks guys, and good luck with the new CD. Will you be back when it's released?"
"I hope so," Kevin said.
"Good." Rick turned to the camera, and introduced the next video. Then they were off the air. "Great interview guys. Thanks for coming out."
"Thanks Rick." Brian said. Everyone was getting up, and getting untangled from their microphones.
"It was nice to meet you Matt" Rick said. "You really made the
Matt was a bit more comfortable on the ride back to the hotel. Howie seemed to be quite pleased with himself. At least he was ignoring Matt at the moment. AJ on the other hand, seemed to be watching him, thinking. AJ didn't seem to be actively hostile now, which was an improvement.
"So, how's the hangover?" Kevin asked.
"I think it's starting to go away." AJ said. "By the way, thanks for getting us back to our rooms last night."
"What? I didn't do that," Kevin said.
"Matt did it" Nick said.
"What?" Howie said. He looked horrified.
"He was out for a walk, and saw you two in the bar" Nick said.
"The waitress was trying to wake you up AJ" Matt said. "So, I talked with her, to make sure she didn't tell anyone. Then I called Nick, and we took you up to your rooms."
"Thanks Matt." Kevin said. "We wouldn't want anyone to know that they were drinking like that. That would be bad for our reputation."
"I think she was more interested in keeping her job than anything else." Matt said. "She said she could lose it if they found out that she'd kept serving you."
"Thanks man" AJ said to Matt.
"I'm glad I could help AJ" Matt said. Matt glanced at Howie, but looked away quickly. He didn't like the expression he saw on Howie's face. It only confirmed what he'd decided before. Howie didn't want him here. Not at all.
They pulled up at the hotel. As they came to a stop, Kevin said "We've got lunch upstairs in a few minutes, so don't wander off anywhere. We should get to the hospital as soon as we can."
They all piled out, and were soon in an elevator heading back to their rooms. AJ surprised Matt and Nick by getting off with them, on their floor.
After the elevator doors had closed, he said "Can I talk to you guys for a minute?"
"Sure AJ" Matt said. "Let's go into our room first, okay?" Matt led the way to the room, and opened the door for them.
Once they were all inside, AJ turned to Matt and said "Did you really mean that? What you said in the interview?"
"Yeah, I did. I don't really know you or Howie, but I've heard a lot about you. I know how much you all mean to Nick. I'm really sorry that my presence here has caused trouble."
Nick looked shocked.
"Don't misunderstand me Nick. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me. I just don't want to come between you and your friends."
"I can see why Nick likes you Matt." AJ said. "I'm sorry if I said things I shouldn't have."
"I know you were just trying to protect Nick."
"Well, not entirely. You've given me a lot to think about. I can't say as how I understand it, or even that it makes me comfortable, but I can see that you really do care for each other. I won't give you any more trouble."
"Thanks AJ" Nick said.
"And I'll try and talk some sense into Howie. Right now, I think I better stay close to him. I don't want him to think he's all alone."
"Yeah, you're right." Nick said. "He needs someone on his side. It shouldn't be four against one."
"See you later guys." AJ said as he left.
It was the fourth time that day that Matt found himself riding along with the guys. This time they were heading back to the hotel after spending the afternoon at the hospital. It had been quite an experience. Matt was certain he wouldn't forget it.
Some of those kids were just so sick. Well, at least they'd been able to brighten their afternoon. It was really tough to see kids younger than Andy with their hair falling out from cancer treatments. Or the little guy who was older than Andy, but only about half the size. He was in a bad way, because of a bad heart. It just broke your heart to see. Brian had spent a lot of time with that boy.
But, all the kids had been glad to see the Backstreet Boys. A few of them had been excited to see him as well, which was nice. Matt had spent some time playing with some of the kids, or talking quietly with a little girl that was so sick with kidney problems, she couldn't get out of bed. It was hard to keep the tears away.
Everyone seemed to be very subdued now. Matt was a bit surprised to see what looked like tears in Howie's eyes. He was trying to hide it, and Matt looked around, but nobody else seemed to be watching. Everyone was lost in their own thoughts.
They arrived at the hotel. They rode up to their rooms in silence. Matt and Nick got off, and the rest of them continued up to their floor. Matt led the way to the room, and opened the door for Nick. Nick threw his jacket off, and went over to the couch.
"Nick?" Matt said.
Nick looked up. Matt could see that the afternoon had been rough on Nick too. Matt went over and sat with Nick on the couch. When Matt sat down, Nick hugged him, and then settled on Matt's chest. They sat like that for a few minutes, each lost in their own thoughts.
Matt broke the silence. "Did you see that little guy with the heart problems? He was so small."
"Yeah, I did. That could have been Brian. He has had heart problems too."
"Really? I didn't know that."
"He had surgery last summer. I was so worried. We all were. But he came through it okay, and everything seems to be okay now. That's why he setup a charity for kids with heart problems."
"Really? That's really nice of him to try to help the kids. Why didn't you tell me about this before?"
"I don't know. I guess it never came up before. Howie has a charity too. His sister died a little while ago, from Lupus. He setup a foundation in her memory."
"Oh. That's why he looked so sad at the hospital. I didn't know."
They sat in silence, and then Nick said, "We should check in on Brian. He's always so sad after visiting a hospital."
The phone started ringing. Nick sighed, then got up and answered it. He picked it up, and said "Hello?"
"Is Matt there? There were a bunch of messages from Trish at 'Boy Meets World'. They want him to call."
"Damn it. If Howie hadn't opened his big mouth, they wouldn't know where he was!" Nick was clearly angry.
Matt got up and walked over to Nick. "Trouble?" he said.
Nick nodded to Matt. "Okay Kevin. Thanks. I'll tell Matt." He hung up the phone. Nick hugged Matt, and they sat on the bed. "Thanks to Howie, it sounds like they know where you are now. Kevin says there were a bunch of messages for you. They want you to call Trish."
"Oh." Matt sighed. "I knew this would happen if they knew where I was. Well, I guess I better call." Matt dialed the phone. It rang a couple of times, and then Trish picked it up and said hello.
"Hi Trish" Matt said. He recognized her voice.
"Is that you Matt?" She continued, without allowing Matt to answer. "It's about time you called! Hang on a minute while I get Mike."
Mike came on almost immediately. "Matt?"
"Yeah. Hi Mike."
"Listen, you've got to come back now. We're running out of time to get this episode done. If you hop on a plane now, you can be back tomorrow, and we'll be able to shoot it on Friday."
"I'm sorry Mike, but I told you before. I'll be back on Saturday. Just write me out."
"We can't do that. Matt, you've got a contract. You can't just decide to take a vacation whenever you want it. We need you here now."
"I told you yesterday. An emergency came up, and I'm unavailable this week. That's allowed under the contract."
"What's the emergency? It looks to me like you just took off to meet your friends. I heard about the interview on Much Music."
"It's a personal matter Mike. There's no reason I should explain it to you."
"Matt?" Nick said.
"Hang on a minute Mike." Matt said. He looked over at Nick.
"You should go back." Nick said.
"What? I don't want to go! We've had so little time, I don't want to go back now."
"I don't want you to either, but you've got to think about your career."
"I don't care about that Nick."
"I do. Tell him you'll fly back on Friday morning. Then you can rehearse on Friday, and tape the show on Saturday."
"Are you sure?" Matt said.
"Yes." Nick sounded very certain.
Matt put the phone back to his ear. "Mike, are you still there?"
"Yes." Mike said.
"Okay, I'm going to call the airline and get my flight changed. I'll fly in on Friday morning. We can do rehearsals in the afternoon, and shoot on Saturday."
"But, that'll cost more. We only tape on Saturday when there's no other option."
"Well, then it's time we taped on Saturday, because there is no other option."
"But Matt, think of the cost. Everyone will object to losing their Saturday!"
"Take it or leave it Mike. I don't care. I'm not going to be there any earlier than Friday."
"Uh, okay. We're under budget anyway."
"Good. I'll call Trish and let her know when I'll be at the studio."
"I'll have Trish fax a copy of the script to your hotel."
"Okay." Matt hung up the phone. He turned to Nick and said "Maybe you should go and check on Brian. I have to call the airline, then Joey."
"Are you sure? I can stay here if you want."
Matt smiled. "Brian probably needs someone right now. You go and keep him company. I'll come up after I make the phone calls. Maybe we can all go out to dinner or something later."
Nick leaned over and gave him a kiss. "Okay. Don't be long."
Nick got up, and Matt watched him walk out the door. When he was alone, he sighed, and then got up and found his airline ticket. With it in hand, he phoned the airline, and arranged to have his flight changed. He was now flying out first thing in the morning, arriving in LA just before lunch. He made sure he had the new flight number, and arrival time. Then he called Joey.
"Hello" Joey said.
"Matt! I didn't expect to hear from you. Is everything okay?"
"Not really. I have to come back early. I've got to go directly from the airport to the studio, for rehearsals. Apparently they couldn't do without me."
"Oh. That's too bad."
"Can you pick me up at the studio on Friday, after rehearsal? I'll catch a cab from the airport."
"Sure, if you want. What time?"
"I don't know. It'll probably be late. I'll call you."
"Okay. Do you want me to tell Mom that you'll be home early?"
"Oh no. I forgot all about Mom and Dad. What am I supposed to do Joey?"
"I don't know Matt. I think we need to talk first. Why don't you stay here on Friday night?"
"Can I? I really don't want to deal with them yet. I don't know where to start."
"Sure, there's lots of room. Maybe I can get Dad to bring your car over here. Are you taping the show on Saturday?"
"Yeah. It'll probably be another long day."
"Okay, I'll tell Mom and Dad that you'll be home on Sunday afternoon then. You can stay here on Friday and Saturday. That'll give us time to figure out what to tell them."
"That'd be great Joey. Thanks."
"Hey, no problem. Are you and Nick okay?"
"Yeah. I'll tell you all about it when I get home, okay?"
Joey sighed. "Okay Matt. I'll be home on Friday night, waiting to hear from you."
"Thanks Joey. I'll see you soon." Matt hung up.
Well, there was one more call to make. Matt sighed, and called Trish again. He was glad when he got her voice mail. She must be on the phone. Matt left her a message, telling her when his flight was scheduled to arrive. That done, he left the room, and made his way upstairs.
When he got off the elevator, he made his way down the hall towards Brian's room. As he walked past Kevin's room, the door opened and Kevin stepped out. "Hi Kevin" Matt said.
"Oh, hi Matt." Kevin said. "I was just looking for you. This fax arrived for you."
"Thanks." Matt took the envelope from Kevin.
"You don't look very happy. Trouble?"
"Yeah, I've got to go back on Friday. This is probably the script."
"Oh, that's too bad. Did they track you down from the interview?"
"I think so. I couldn't tell them why I didn't want to go back, so I didn't have a lot of choice."
"Where's Nick?" Kevin said. "Is he okay?"
"Yeah, I think he's with Brian. It was his idea that I should go back on Friday. They wanted me to go now."
"Is he angry at Howie?"
"Yeah. I didn't have time to talk to him about that."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, it's not Howie's fault. He probably thinks that it's best for Nick if I'm not here, so he is trying to get me out of here."
Kevin shook his head. "Man, you're something else. After all he's done to you, you still think he's just looking out for Nick. Come on, let's see how Nick and Brian are doing."
Kevin knocked on Brian's door. Brian opened it, and they went in. Nick smiled at Matt as he came in. Matt walked over, and took Nick's hand. "Did you get everything arranged?" Nick said.
Matt nodded. "I called the airline, Joey and the show. It's all arranged. I'm leaving first thing on Friday morning."
"I'm sorry to hear you've got to go home early," Brian said.
"We're going out to a club tonight." Nick said. "That always makes Brian feel better."
"That sounds like fun" Kevin said.
"Okay, if you want. What about AJ and Howie?" Matt said.
"What? You want them to come?" Nick said.
"Sure, if they want to. Why not?"
Kevin laughed. "Why not indeed. I'll call them and see if they want to come." He went over to the phone, and started calling.
"Nick told me about your heart problems Brian" Matt said. "I didn't know."
"Well, I was born with it. They told my parents that I'd never live long enough to grow up, but I proved them wrong. My parents couldn't afford the cost of the treatments. That's why I started the charity. To help out those kids who are like me, and can't get treatment."
"That's why we've got to take him dancing Matt" Nick said. "We wouldn't want him to get out of shape or something."
They all laughed. Kevin rejoined them. "AJ is coming, but Howie wants to stay in tonight. He says he's still not feeling very well."
"Sound good" Brian said.
"Okay then, let's get going. I told AJ we'd meet him downstairs in fifteen minutes."
Matt and Nick stopped in the room on the way out, to get their coats. Matt
dropped off the script. He did take a quick look at it, and confirmed that it
was the script he'd been expecting. Going out to a club wasn't Matt's idea of a
fun evening, but he was ready to go if Nick wanted him to.
A few hours later, Matt found himself sitting at a booth in a noisy club. They'd had a quick dinner, but most of the time had been spent here. The place was crowded. Brian, Kevin and AJ came back to the table every once in a while, but Nick had pretty much disappeared. Matt knew he was out there dancing. He couldn't seem to get enough dancing.
Nick had tried to get him out onto the dance floor a couple of times, but Matt had refused. He really didn't feel comfortable dancing. Nick had finally gone out and found some girls for them to have some slow dances with. That was a bit better, but Matt really didn't want to dance, especially in a loud place like this. Now, if he'd been able to dance with Nick, it would be different. Of course, that couldn't ever happen in a public place. Now that was a depressing thought.
Maybe it was because he had to go back early, or maybe it was the hospital visit today. He was just in a crummy mood. The fake happiness of this place only made it worse. But, he didn't want Nick to see that. He knew Nick was enjoying himself, and that was good.
AJ reappeared and sat next to him. He smiled at AJ.
AJ leaned over and said, "You don't look like you're having fun."
Matt didn't say anything. He just shrugged his shoulders. AJ got up, grabbed his coat, and motioned to Matt to follow. Matt got his jacket, and then followed AJ outside.
"What's wrong?" AJ said, once they had gotten far enough that the noise level had dropped.
"I don't know. I'm just not into clubs I guess."
"I heard about you having to go home early. That was a crummy thing that Howie did."
"Yeah, it's too bad. I don't blame Howie though."
"Shit man, Kevin said you weren't mad at Howie. Why the hell not?"
"What purpose would it serve? He doesn't want me here. I'm sorry that he doesn't like me, but I can understand why he'd want me away from Nick. He probably thinks I'm a bad influence on him or something."
"Doesn't anything make you angry?"
Matt was surprised. "Sure. But Howie is doing what he thinks is best. Why should that make me angry? Sad maybe. I don't want to come between Nick and all of you."
AJ just shook his head. "I think you actually mean that. Amazing. So, if it's not Howie that's gotten you into this mood, what is it?"
"I don't know. The hospital today was sad. Now, I'm going home early. I haven't had much time with Nick, at least not while he's awake. That place is noisy."
"Yeah, I wondered about that. Why were you out walking last night? It sounds like Nick was asleep and you went out for a walk."
Matt looked a bit embarrassed. "Well, Nick fell asleep on me. I was still...awake, so I decided to go and see if I could use the gym."
"Oh. So, Nick fell asleep on you after you'd..."
Matt looked away, and nodded.
"Why didn't you just wake him up?"
"I tried. He was still fully clothed. I got him undressed, put him into bed and everything, but he just kept sleeping."
AJ laughed. "Sorry man."
They walked for a few more minutes before Matt said, "I think maybe I'll go back to the hotel. I really should start in on that script."
"Are you sure? Nick will wonder where you've gone."
"Can you tell him? I'd rather he stayed here with you guys tonight and had some fun. I couldn't read the script anyway if he was there."
"Okay. Have a safe trip back to the hotel. I'll see you tomorrow."
Matt hailed a cab, and was quickly back at the hotel. He had a quiet trip up to the room, and was soon settled on the couch, with the script in hand.
When Nick arrived a couple of hours later, he found Matt on the couch, sound asleep. The script had fallen out of Matt's hand, onto the floor. Nick smiled, and watched Matt for a moment. He looked so cute. All the stress of the last few days was gone from his face.
Nick left Matt on the couch, and headed into the bathroom. He needed a quick shower before bed. All that dancing had made him hot and sweaty.
After the shower, he got dried off, and then brushed his teeth. When he was all ready for bed, he walked out of the bathroom, and checked on Matt. He was still sound asleep.
Should he wake Matt up? Somehow, he just couldn't. Matt looked so relaxed, so perfect there. Nick remembered how protected he'd felt when he woke up, and realized that Matt had undressed him, and put him into bed. It had been a wonderful feeling, knowing that Matt cared.
Well, he could do that. He started with Matt's shoes, then his socks. Then he took off Matt's shirt. That was a bit more of a problem--Matt almost woke up. But, he soothed him and Matt went back to sleep.
There was no way he'd be able to remove Matt's pants while he was here on the couch. Nick got up and turned down the bed. Then he went over, and carefully picked up Matt. It was a bit tricky getting over to the bed without waking him, but he managed it. Once he put him onto the bed, it was pretty easy to remove his pants. Nick debated a moment, and then removed Matt's briefs too. More fun in the morning that way.
Nick went around the room, picked up the script from the floor, and put it
onto the couch where he was sure Matt would find it. Then he turned all the
lights off, except the one beside the bed. He checked the door, and made sure it
was locked from the inside. Satisfied that everything was the way Matt would
have done it, he went over and slid into the bed beside Matt. He turned the
light off. Nick gathered Matt into his arms, and rested his head against Matt's
shoulder. Sleep came quickly.
The night was cold, the sounds somehow subdued. He could hear that sickening thud as someone kicked. He knew what he'd see in a moment when the sirens started. As the crowd ran away, he knew he'd see the bodies. As he always saw the bodies. Twisted. Bloody. Still.
He felt the power of the crowd around him. The force of the mob, as it hunted its prey. The exhilaration as it was found. The cheer rising around him, as the blows started. The cheers as fists knocked them down.
Then the crowd grew quiet. Quiet, so that the sound of boots on flesh could be heard. So that the sound of agony realized, bones breaking, and flesh tearing could be heard. He could never escape the sounds. They would stay with him, haunting him later.
Sirens. There, off in the distance. The crowd heard it now too, and started to drift away. Bloody footsteps led off in all directions, as their owners left the scene. Slowly the crowd parted, and he saw. Mangled bodies, twisted, lying in the dirt.
Howie scrambled up off the floor. He fumbled for a moment, and found the lights. His stomach made its intentions known, and he stumbled his way into the bathroom. He managed somehow to make it all the way to the toilet before the convulsions started. Dinner, lunch, breakfast and the memory of last year's meals all went down the drain. When the heaves finally stopped, he was shivering, tears streaming down his face, covered in sweat. He slowly rose, and turned on the shower.
The cool water helped. It always seemed to help. The images of Brad and Jason, lying in the dirt. It was too hard. Too bloody hard.
It had been almost a year since the dream had last haunted him. At one time, he'd been plagued by it almost every night. Slowly, over the years, the nightmare had left him. Now, it was back.
He knew why it was back. He'd known this would happen.
He turned the shower off, and stepped out. He slowly dried himself off, and tried to stop the tears. Try as he may, he couldn't dry the tears. It just hurt too much. The years hadn't dulled the pain, as everyone said they would. It hurt now, like it had hurt then.
He walked back into the bedroom, and got out the journal. He knew this was all that would stop the tears. It was hard to read Brad's words through the tears, but he hardly needed to see the page anymore. He knew every word by heart.
Perhaps one day, he'd be able to finish the journal. He'd tried. He knew Brad wanted him to read it. Why else would Brad want him to have it? But he couldn't. He just couldn't. It still hurt too much.