When Paths Cross, Part 10 By Everybodycrys (everybodycrys@yahoo.com)

Well here I go, first off I want to say that previously I said the story would end on Part 12. Well after taking sometime to think and plot I’m gonna go back and say who the hell knows when it will end. I’ve decided not to limit myself and try to cram everything in so there will be a ending, but I have no idea when it will be. Next I’m sorry it took me so long to get this part out. It was harder then I thought. This is actually the third version of part ten and bears no resemblance to what I first wrote. I’ll try not let too much time pass before the next one but I can’t make any promises. If you have anything you want to say or questions you want to ask then please email me at everybodycrys@yahoo.com. I welcome all responses

This is a work of fiction and does not mean to imply anything about the sexual preferences of any of the characters, real or imagined. Also if you are under 18 or this type of thing is illegal where you leave then please do not read it and leave now. Thanks

And part 10...

A man in a dark suit walked across the room. He eyed the young man sitting at the table in front of him with a suspicious glare. They had been sitting there for three hours and he still wasn’t satisfied with the story this guy was giving him. He took a seat at the table and pressed the button to start the recorder going again.

“Lets start again.” He said, his exhaustion was obvious in his voice, “Tell me everything from the beginning.”

The young man lifted his head to look across the table, “No, “ he said softly.

“No?...no what?” The suit asked surprised at the response.

The young man answered as softly as before, “No, as in no I’m not going over it again.”

“listen, “ the older suit grumbled, “until I say, your ass belongs to me. So we’ll go over it again and again, until I get what I believe to be the truth, your ass ain’t going no where.”

“I’ve already told you everything five times. There is no more to tell. Saying it again isn’t going to change anything.” The young man pleaded.

The suit stood up and slammed his hand on the table, “your lying!!” He walked over to the door, “You sit here and think about it, maybe a in a hour or two you be more anxious to tell me more.” With that he walked out of the room slamming the door.

Matt let his head fall to the table, the tears started flowing out. It seemed like a eternity ago that they had been rescued. since that time he had been separated from the group, poked and prodded at a local hospital, and dragged into this room where questioned were being thrown at him left and right. He hadn’t seen or spoken to Nick since they arrived at the rescue camp on the helicopter and it was tearing him apart. he didn’t know how much trouble he would get in if he just left and didn’t want to chance it but he was really hurting. He sighed and continued to cry softly on the table.

Nick paced the waiting area getting more and more tense with each passing moment. Kevin and Howie watched him walk back and forth. They had been here ever since they were done with their meetings with the investigators. One by one they were escorted out here to wait for the others. Everyone was done save for Matt and it had been hours since they were brought here. It was getting very tiresome. A.J. had left a while ago to see Kenny and Brian had decided to join him. A.J. had decided to inform them about Kenny’s family issues and wanted to make sure there was someone there for him when he woke up. Brian had decided to join him and he wanted to talk to management about some things. All of the guys were upset about the amount of time they were able to spend with their families. It had been limited to a few hours in the hospital as they were checked over for their injuries. After that they were escorted out and driven to the airports for their flights. Management didn’t like to cut the time short but for press reasons and tour conflicts they needed the guys to get out of here as quickly as possible. They all understood it, but it didn’t make it any easier. Kevin had tried to argue for some time off, but management said that tour was already thrown off due to Nick’s illness and they also couldn’t afford to deal with the press problems if the public found out that they were involved in the crash. Nick grumbled as he countnued to pace.

“Come on Nick, why don’t you just take a seat and wait it out.” Kevin said trying to get him to relax.

“Its been forever, what the hell are doing with him?” Nick said.

“I don’t know, I tried to find out but they didn’t tell me anything.”

Howie slapped his knees and stood up, “Well I’m gonna go see what I can find out, you guys cover for me.” With that he stepped out the door. Kevin watched him go, hoping he could do better then he had. Howie walked around the station watching for any sign of Matt. He saw a door that he recognized as where he was taken for questioning before and he headed for it. He was surprised that no one had stopped him to ask why he was there but he wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. He open the door and walked down the hallway of small rooms used in interrogations. He quickly looked in each one, making sure first that they were empty. He reached the last one on the right and took a look through the small window in the door. He was estatic when he saw Matt sitting behind the table but his happiness was quickly estigushed when he saw the condition he was in. Matt’s head was still lying in his hands on the table and Howie could see that he had been crying. He looked around to make sure they were alone and then he slipped into the room. Matt looked up expecting to see the suit enter again to start his questions but was surprised to see Howie.

“Hey Matt are you okay?” He asked as he stepped across the room to Matt’s side.

Matt sniffed,” they won’t let me go. I’ve told them everything, but they won’t let me go.” He could feel the tears starting again. Howie crouched down and put a arm around him.

“Are they blaming anything on you?” He asked. Matt shook his head negative. Howie sudden got real pissed, apparently they hadn’t wanted to upset any of the group so they were taking everything out of Matt. He was about to help Matt up so they could leave when the suit burst back into the room. He was surprised to find the extra occupant.

“What the hell are you doing here?” He demanded. Howie wasn’t about to let this guy take control of the situation.

“What the hell do you think your doing? We are leaving soon and Matt’s coming with us.”

“The hell he is. We have some more questions for him.” The suit replied.

“He’s been answering your question for damn near four or five hours. Now are you charging him with anything cause if not we’re leaving. Matt’s not going to be talking to you anymore without some body here.”

The suit was silent. He hated to be treated like this or have his demands rejected but he knew the situation. He didn’t want to deal with the hassle if this kid started trouble with his superiors. but he still didn’t want to cave completely. “Well, you guys can go, but we’ll be in touch if we need anything.” He said the last part as menacing as he could to let Matt know he wasn’t getting away forever.

Howie snorted, “IF you need anything else, you can call our people and talk to them. We left the information.” With that he escorted Matt past the suit and out of the room. As they were walking through the station Matt leaned over towards Howie.

“Thanks Howie.” he said. Howie smiled and patted him on the back.

“No problem, I just wish I would have found out earlier.” He opened the door to the waiting area for Matt to walk in. As he did Nick saw him and flew across the room pulling Matt into a tight embrace. Howie quickly closed the door to keep prying eyes out.

“Oh god, I missed you.” Nick said holding him tightly, “Where were you?” Matt didn’t answer he just returned the hug taking in all of Nick, his touch, his voice, his smell. Howie decided to answer for him.

“ The good detective decided that Matt knew the meaning of life and was trying to get it out of him.” he said. Kevin frowned when he heard this. He got was Howie was saying and it didn’t sound good. Nick frowned and looked over at Howie.

“What do you mean?” He asked.

Matt didn’t want to dwell on it, “Don’t worry about it, lets just get out of here.” Kevin nodded and stood up.

“Yeah, good idea. While we were waiting the bus was brought around for us. Its has what is left of the luggage though some of you are going to have to do some shopping since nothing from the crash site was recovered.” Matt groaned at the idea, he hated to go shopping, Kevin continued, “We’ll load up and then head over to the hospital to pick up Brian and A.J. from there its about a day and a half’s drive to the next concert site, so we’re gonna have to hurry.” The rest of them nodded and started to collect there things. Matt was impressed at the way Kevin took charge of things. Between this and the way Howie had rescued him he was starting to see a whole new side to these guys that the media didn’t let out. They walked out as a group and loaded the bus as quickly as possible. They guys took a little time to sign some autographs for the people that had helped them. when they finally all mad it on board and the buss started moving they were pretty much dead. It had been one long day and a day and half on the bus wasn’t going to help matters much. As they were approaching the hospital Kevin received a call on his phone. He took it and walked towards the back of the bus so he could get some privacy. Matt sat next to Nick at the table in the small dining area. They just leaned against each other holding hands and relaxing. Howie had already grabbed a bunk to catch some sleep.

Nick turned to Matt, “You want to grab a nap?” Matt nodded tiredly. They started to get up to find a bunk when they heard Kevin yelling from the back. they froze for a second unsure of what to do. They didn’t want to walk in on him right now. Slowly they sank back into their seats and waited for the yelling to die down. It didn’t take long and soon after Kevin came storming back in to join them at the table. He looked pretty bad, not only was he exhausted but he looked tormented from the call.

“What's wrong Kev?” Nick asked.

“Nothings so much wrong. Brian called to tell me that Kenny’s gonna be joining us for a while and it sort of took by surprise. I’m not sure its such a great idea.”

Matt was surprised to hear this. This wasn’t something he was expecting. He was a bit worried thinking back to the comments that Kenny had said during their time in the woods. Was this gonna mean him and Nick wouldn’t be able to be with each other when he was present? How long was he gonna be with them? he started getting more and more depressed. Nick looked over and saw his look. He squeezed his hand for support.

“Is management okay with this? I mean after all that has happened I would think they would throw a fit.” Nick stated.

“You’d think so.... But Brian got them to okay it. took advantage of the situation and slid it right by them. According to him it was extremely easy.”

Nick gave him a look that said ‘yeah right’. Nothing was easy to get by the people at the label or with their management. Kevin saw this and smiled.

“He used their own system against them. So in the end they think its a good idea that he’s with us so when the crash story gets out everyone involved is with us and easier for them to control. They also think its a great human interest aspect, and it makes explaining Matt here easier for them.”

Matt looked up in surprise at hearing his name, “What's that? How?”

“They ended up liking the idea so much, they even arranged everything with social services. Brian’s officially taking guardian ship but with his schedule they wanted a adult that could watch over him more considering the situation and his injuries. That's where you come in.” Matt thought about this, he liked Kenny and certainly felt for the kid. He could almost put himself in his shoes.Both of them losing their families, Kenny’s through heart wrenching tragedy and Matt’s through them shutting him out.

“Are you okay with this?” Kevin asked him.

“uh...yeah I guess. I’ll do what I can.”

“You don’t sound so sure.” Nick said.

Matt tired to sound more positive, “No, I’m sure, you guys have been great to let me tag along and this is something I can do to help out.” He smiled, “besides I like Kenny, he’s a good kid and I’d hate to think what would happen to him if we didn’t do this.”

Kevin nodded in agreement, “Your right, I was pissed they didn’t talk to us first but that has behind us. This will be a good thing, you guys just need to be careful until we know how’ll he’ll react.” He said this meaning their relationship. They nodded in agreement, Nick looked out the window and noticed they were right outside the hospital.

“hey we’re here.” Nick said, “And there they are.”

Standing at the entrance to the hospital they could Brian waving at them as the bus pulled up. Behind him stood A.J. and standing off to the side was Kenny. He was wearing a huge oversized blue sweatshirt over his bandages and his left arm was in a sling. Matt wasn’t sure from the distance but he didn’t look happy at all. The bus came to a halt and they headed for it. Kevin got off to meet them. Brian didn’t give him a chance to speak.

“Look Kevin I know your pissed...” he started but Kevin interrupted.

“No, Bri, its okay. I thought about and I know your just trying to do the right thing, and Matt’s okay with it so its all good.” Brian gave a confused look surprised that Kevin was giving in so easy. Kevin continued, “You know I will support you regardless and besides I can chalk this up to a you owe me one.” He smiled and Brian returned it. He hoped on the bus and Kevin turned to A.J. and Kenny.

“Hey Kenny, how ya doing?” He asked. Kenny looked up at him and then with out answering walked past him and on to the bus. Kevin looked after him in confusion. He turned back to A.J.

“What was that?” He asked.

“Well,” A.J. responded, “We had a little fight before the bus got here. Seems like he’s feeling like a bit of a pity project.”

“That's not exactly the best way to start off Bone.” Kevin said. He was concerned that this would create a lot more hassle then they were ready for. “Come on lets get going. We’ll see what we can do on the road.” They hop on the bus, the driver closed the doors and they were off. A.j. walked back to the kitchen spying Matt and Nick sitting at the table. He nodded at them and took a seat across from them.

“Hey Bone, you look like shit.” Nick threw across at him.

“Better looking like shit then acting like one.” A.J. threw back, he wasn’t in the mood for it. Nick’s face feel from the ice behind A.J.’s comment. Matt could see that something was really bothering him.

“You wanna talk?” He asked him.

“No, I’m okay. I’m just real tired. Where’d Kenny go?” Matt could tell there was more there but he wasn’t comfortable enough around the guys to push to hard.

“Brian took him on back to get him situated in a bunk. Maybe you should head back to catch a nap.” Nick answered. A.J. nodded and slowly stood up. he placed a brown paper bag on the table.

“Let Brian know these are the pain killers and stuff from the hospital.” He said before heading back for the bunks.

“I hope this doesn’t turn into a problem.” Nick said as A.J. disappeared. Matt nodded in agreement.

“I’ll talk to Kenny a little later. If I’m gonna be watching him we better get off on the right foot. I can also see if he has a problem with us.”

“And if he does?”

“I don’t know”

Hours later Kevin found himself sitting in the lounge area towards the back of the bus. He was looking through some of the paperwork that never seemed to go away. He took pride in being hands on in the business aspect of their careers instead on relying on others. Howie was lying on the couch reading some book that he had brought. The others were all asleep in the back. Kevin finished up what he was working on and put everything else aside. He sighed and leaned back to relax. He picked a loose sheet of paper that he’d missed and took a look. His eyes grew wide as he read.

“Howie, did you see this?” He asked, concern rising in his voice. Howie looked over to see what he was talking about.

“Yeah, some guy gave it to me at the police station. I didn’t read it, I just put in on your stack of stuff. I figured it was just paperwork for you to look at. Why?, is there a problem?”

Kevin read aloud, “To: security of musical group Backstreet Boys., From: Detective in charge of Montana crash investigation. We have scoured the area and are looking into all leads provided but have not located the perpetrator Russell Nevile. Recommend enlarging security force are group as it appears that Russell has a long reach and his resources are unknown. Be real careful, we will contact you as information is collected.” As Kevin read this Howie’s eyes grew larger and larger.

“You don’t think he’s gonna come after us, do you?”

“Probably not, but from the stories they told us. This guys insane, who knows what he’s capable of. I’m gonna call security and forward this to them. Maybe we should each get a couple of shadows.” Howie groaned when he heard this, but he knew it was nessecary. Shadows where the name they gave to the security personnel who were assigned to stay by there sides at all times. This happened when they were in situations where the crowd was extremely large and unruly. Having someone hovering over them all the time could get real nerve wracking and any sense of privacy was lost. Kevin got out his phone and dialed.

Matt and Nick laid next to each other in one of the bunks holding each other. Nick was asleep lying with head resting on Matt’s chest. Matt ran his fingers through Nick’s hair, he wasn’t able to get to sleep, just content to be lying here with Nick. Nick mumble in his sleep and rolled over on to his stomach burying his face in Matt’s chest. Matt smiled and started rubbing Nicks back gently. In the short time that they had been together, they had lived through so much together. Never in his life had he ever felt like this with anyone and it scared him a little. The fear wasn’t as powerful as before and every second he spent with Nick made it weaker and more faint. He thought back to the hospital when the guys families had been there for them. They hadn’t said anything to Nick’s mom, neither one of them were ready to deal with that. Kevin had told him that they were still trying to get a hold of Marian, so Matt had taken the time to give her a call. After the first fifteen minutes of her crying and yelling about being told so late, he had gotten her to promise him that she wouldn’t tell his family. She had gotten real quiet after that but made the promise. She told him she would arrange it so she could fly out and meet him at one of their concerts so he was looking forwards to that. Unconsciously he reached up and fingered the bandage on his shoulder. It was getting a bit old and Nick had noticed that when he took his shirt off to get in the bunk. He promised Nick they’d change it when they got up. Nick’s small bandage on his forehead could probably be changed too. He made a note to do that when they got up. Slowly he felt sleep overcome him. It had been so long since he’d been able to get any type of decent sleep. soon he was snoring softly, peaceful for the first time in recent history.

The bus drove all through the night, They had brought a extra driver along so they wouldn’t have to take any time to stop so the driver could rest. They took turns as the raced along towards the next concert. The bus also moved much faster as all the rest of the tour was already there and setting up, No convoy to slow them down. Midmorning the guys started waking up and heading for the lounge. By eleven, A.J., Brian, Howie, and Kevin were munching on some doughnuts, coffee, and milk. Back in the bunks Nick slowly opened his eyes. He smiled as he could feel Matt’s breathing as his chest rose and fell. He rose a little and slowly laid his lips on Matts'. He gave him small repeated kisses. Matt opened his eyes and smiled.

“Hey there sexy. You are quite the alarm clock. If I could reproduce you and sell, I’d make a fortune.”

Nick smiled, “I’m one of a kind baby, and somehow I don’t think we’re gonna be able to reproduce.”

“That doesn’t mean we can’t try.” Matt said with a smile. Nick’s smile vanished as soon as he said this., What's wrong?”

“Nothings wrong, its....just, uh....I’ve never.....well.”

Matt interrupted, “Its okay, me either I was just being funny, We’ll know when we’re ready and I will never pressure to do it until your ready to.”

Nick smiled, “You sound so lame, you couldn’t pressure me if you tried.” He leaned up and kissed Matt again to let him know he was joking. “come on, lets go get some breakfast.” Nick open the curtain and hoped out grabbing his shirt. Matt reached out and grabbed his arm.

“Not so fast, you should grab a shower and then we’re gonna change these bandages. If we go to the lounge now we’re just gonna get comfortable and then we won’t wanna move.”

Nick pouted a bit as he head for the bathroom, “Fine, but lets make it quick, I’m getting hungry.” Matt smiled and watched him get in the bathroom. He looked through Nick’s luggage while he was in the shower and found something to wear. He still had to do some shopping. He didn’t have anything. He made it a point to get it over and done with as soon as he could. He found boxers, cargo shorts and a white T-shirt. Just as he was ready Nick came out of the bathroom.

“You’ll have to hurry, there’s not much hot water on this thing.” He said smiling as he came out. He was wearing some jeans and a dark blue hooded sweatshirt. Matt smiled, he seemed to doing a lot of that lately, but Nick looked just so damn cute with his wet head look.

“You track down the extra bandages and I’ll hurry” , he promised as he hoped into the bathroom. he was amazed at the luxuries aboard this tour bus. He had heard these things were nice, but this was his first time on one. He heard recently that Britney Spears had a tanning booth on hers. He showered quickly and though on the shorts. He threw what remained of the bandages from before into the trash. He looked at his shoulder and frowned, it didn’t look good. He was in fact a little embarrassed to leave the bathroom with his shirt off. He threw the towel over hid shoulder to hide the wound. Grabbing the shirt he left the bathroom. He found Nick by the bunks waiting with the first aid supplies. Nick looked up and grinned.

“I think you should walk around without a shirt on more often, your gorgeous.”

“Not so much anymore,” Matt said as he removed the towel. Nick frowned when he saw the wound. He got up and pulled Matt into a hug.

“It’ll be okay, it’ll heal.” He said trying to make him feel better. Matt nodded silently hoping so. Nick reached over and grabbed the first aid kit. Together they worked fast, Nick worked on Matt’s shoulder while Matt put a new bandage on Nick’s forehead.

“There,” he said as he finished up, “You won’t need these anymore after tomorrow. I'm sure you can cover it up with some make up on stage.” they put away the first aid kit and Matt slipped on his shirt as they walked back to the lounge to join the others. They took a seat on the couch. Matt leaning back against Nick liking the feel of the big sweatshirt.

“Well you two, certainly took long enough.” Howie joked as he hand them the doughnuts. Brian walked over and handed Nick a glass of milk.

“You want some coffee?” he asked Matt as he walked over to the pot.

“ I want some coffee.” Nick complained.

“Sorry Nick, these no decaf and we’re not you giving any caffeine.” Brian said. Nick frowned, he hated it when they did stuff like this to him. Matt gave Brian a questioning look. A.J. noticed and filled him in.

“When Nick gets some caffeine in him, he’s jumping off the wall so we don’t let him get too much of it.”

Matt smiled, he thought that was so cute, he leaned over and whispered in Nick’s ear, “I’m gonna have to see that some time.” When Nick heard this a huge smile spread across his face. Matt turned back to Brian, I’ll just have some milk too.” Brian brought him one when he returned from the kitchen and took a seat next to them on the couch. They relaxed a bit while watch some T.V. Matt noticed A.J. glancing at his watch a lot.

“You have a appointment?” He asked, joking with him.

A.J. didn't’ return the smile he was distracted a bit, “No, I’m just wondering if Kenny’s gonna get up soon. I checked on him earlier but he was asleep.” Matt felt bad, he had forgotten about him and it was gonna be his job to watch him. He got up quickly.

“I’ll go check and bring him some doughnuts. If he’s not up yet he should be. When was the last time he took his pills?”

Everyone looked at each other unsure of the answer. Kevin frowned, “Guys we’re gonna have to do better then this,” He turned to Matt, “Maybe it is a good thing your gonna be helping out.” he said as a joke but making his point clear to everyone. A.J. threw Matt the bag with the pills in it as Matt put some doughnuts on a paper plate and some milk. He walked back to the bunk area throwing Nick a smile as he left. He pulled open Kenny’s curtain slowly expecting Kenny to be asleep. But to his surprise Kenny was sitting up staring at the wall. Matt could see that he had been crying, his eyes were all red and puffy and he looked completely drained. He knew he had to be careful if he was going to get any where. Damn, why didn’t those intro psy classes ever cover anything like this. He took a seat on the edge of the bunk. Kenny continued to ignore him.

“ I brought you some breakfast.” He sat the plate on the bunk. Kenny didn’t even look at it. He spotted a drink holder and put the milk in that. “You know you can’t stay in here forever.” He said trying to get any kind of response.

“ I don’t want to be here at all.” He sounded so cold that Matt was taken by surprise. A small part of him was also a little angry.

“Then why’d you come? You didn’t have too.” Matt shot back, “These guys are doing something good for you, why are you being this way?” He could see the tears building in Kenny’s eyes but he couldn’t hold back.

When Kenny spoke he was obviously right on the edge, his voice horse and scratchy, “Because there was no other place to go. That social service lady said that it was unlikely anyone else would want me. No chance for adoption and very few foster families will take older teenagers.” The tears started to fall, “She said, No one would want me! There is no one left for me. She said I would probably end up in a half way house until i turned eighteen and then I’d be on my own. I came because this is it for me, it was this or nothing...This or Nothing.” He fell apart with those words. He didn’t want to leave he was just still hurting because he felt alone. He shook with tears. Matt sat on the bunk and pulled him for comfort. Kenny grabbed him tightly, unwilling to let go, holding on like he was a lifeline to sanity. Matt just held him for comfort, letting him cry. After a while Kenny calmed down a bit and Matt let him go, but stayed close.

“Kenny, listen... What that lady told you was wrong. This isn’t it for you, I know things are real bad right now, and you don’t want to hear this,but things will work out. We’ll find something for you. These guys didn’t take you as a pity case, A.J., Brian, they really like you and they didn’t want to just leave you back there. We are here for you, please don’t turn away and take this on all by yourself.” He tired to be as soothing as possible without losing the control in his voice. Kenny wiped his eyes, and stared at Matt.

After what seemed like a eternity he spoke, “Thanks Matt, I’m sorry I was being a ass. I appreciate what you’ve done, its just after everything...” He paused. He didn’t want to go through that again. Matt understood he stood up to give him some room.

“Well then, why don’t you eat and then join us in the lounge. we still have a way to go and when we get there, you and me have some shopping to do. We’re both luggage less right now.” He said this last part with a smile. Kenny nodded and started on his breakfast. Matt left him alone so he could think, he also wanted to talk to the guys before Kenny joined them. He walked back out to the lounge and joined Nick on the couch. The guys all stared at him silent waiting for word. It was actually a little funny the way they were waiting on him. He sighed and stretched. He made like he was gonna say something, but then reached across and snagged a doughnut and started munching. They all groaned and he started laughing.

“You ass.” Brian said laughing.

“Hey its not often a guy has international superstars waiting on him.” He said, “Well, its not as bad as we thought. Apparently some idiot social service lady had him convinced that this was the only option he had and there was basically nothing else left for him. Real supportive for a kid that just became a orphan. I’d like to find her sometime. So on the good side I let him know that wasn’t the case and we’re here for him cause he like him. The bad side is he’s hurting real bad emotionally, I don’t know if its gonna get better, I hope so, but we might want to think about some type of counseling if it doesn’t.” Kevin nodded, he already had a idea of who to call if need be. Matt continued, “So, that has pretty much it, he’s gonna come join us as soon as he’s done.” He sat back with that final statement letting them take it all in.

A.J. felt better knowing that Kenny wasn’t mad at him. Everyone relaxed a bit after hearing this. Kevin suddenly remembered the note and got everyone's attention. He didn’t want to worry anyone so he left out most of the info, “Hey guys, I’m letting you know, when we get to the site, everyone’s gonna be growing some shadows.” Hearing this they all started groaning, “Yeah I know, but after all that has happened, management feels this is best for a while.” He avoided Howie’s glance knowing that Howie knew that Kevin was the one that set this up.

“What's a shadow?” Matt asked.

Nick answered him, “Those are security guys that follow us around all day, no privacy.”

“Yeah, and you and Kenny are getting your own shadows too.” Kevin informed him.

“All day?” Matt asked Nick.

“All day?” Nick asked Kevin. Kevin laughed knowing what Nick was getting too.

“Don’t worry, You can trust these guys, and it’s not all day. They won’t sleep with you, but we do need to make sure there’s no games of shadow ditching this time.”

“Huh?” Matt asked.

“Last time we did this, Brian and Nick had a game going when they tried to see who could ditch their shadow more. It really pissed those guys off.” A.J. said Howie laugh remembering it. Nick knew what was coming.

“Shut up Howie” He hissed.

“ Oh is little Nickie upset about what happened?” Howie said laughing. Matt was confused but he sensed something good. Just as Howie was about to say, Kenny walked into the room. Everyone turned to stare. Matt sensed this probably wasn’t helping so he did what he could to distract. He grabbed the remote and hit the volume control. The T.V. screamed Nine inch nails at a really high volume causing everyone to jump and turn from Kenny. He hit the mute button and smiled.

“Sorry, I just really like that song.” He lied, he turn to Kenny, “Hey Kenny, have a seat.” Kenny nodded and sat in one of the empty chairs. Brian noticed him biting his lip in pain as he sat.

“When was the last time you took the pain medication?” he asked. Kenny grimaced in response, Kevin frowned again when he noticed that Matt still had the brown bag.

“You haven’t had anything since you got here huh?” He asked, standing up. Kenny nodded. Matt groaned when he remembered the bag.

“Damn it, I’m sorry, I meant to give you these when I was back there. It totally slipped my mind.”

Kevin got up and walked over to the seat next to Kenny, Matt handed him the bag as he passed. Kenny emptied the bag in his lap.

“Lets see here, Tylenol 3 with codeine, that has for pain, says to take it every 8 hours as needed.” He handed one over to Kenny and Brian brought over a glass of water. Kevin turned to A.J., “Bone, set your watch for 8 hours.” He nodded and complied, Matt did the same to make sure they didn’t forget. Kevin continued, “These must be antibiotics, three times a day.” He said this handing Kenny more pills. He threw the bottles to Brian to put up in a cupboard. “Okay done, “ Kenny nodded his thanks. They sat around for a while shooting the breeze. Matt was relieved to see that Kenny was much more relaxed. He smiled and moved to take Nicks hand in his, he was surprised when Nick pulled away suddenly. He glanced up to see Nick motioning across the lounge where Kenny was sitting. Matt nodded, he didn’t like it , but he understood. He made it a point to talk to Kenny that evening.

The day wore on, the pain medication took over and Kenny fell asleep in his seat. Howie went and got a blanket to cover him up. The rest of them talked about the coming concert.

“What's the plan?” Nick asked.

“We should be arriving around seven this evening.” A.J. said, “We’re gonna meet up with everyone at the site and practice for a few hours before heading over to the hotel for the night. Then tomorrow its rehearsal all day and the show that night.”

Kevin was impressed that A.J. had remembered all that. He was the one that was usually asking all the time. He smiled showing his satisfaction. A.J. noticed, “Hey don’t get used to it, I just saw the schedule earlier.” everyone laughed.

Kevin reached in his pocket and pulled out a credit card. “Here” , he said tossing it to Matt, “that has from management, their gonna be handling the airlines and any lawsuits that come out of it, thou last I heard they were all ready talking settlement, so that has for you to go shopping with tonight, you can pick up what you need. We’ll have someone take you and Kenny to the mall tonight after we get there.” Matt grimaced, he hated shopping, but he had to do it, he didn’t have anything to wear and he couldn’t live out of Nick’s suitcase forever. He thanked Kevin and took the card.

“hey I wanna go shopping.” A.J. complained

“You have to practice” Howie said. A.J. pouted until Brian laughed and threw a pillow at him.

“Give it up, you can go one time without shopping.”

“Hey I’ll wait for you if you really want to go.” Matt said.

A.J. smiled and looked at Kevin, Kevin sighed and threw his hands up in defeat.

“Fine , when we get done, we’ll hit the mall.”

The rest of the day flew by, before he knew it Matt was sitting back stage waiting for the rehearsal to end. They had arrived earlier there expected and were taking the opportunity to really nail the show before tomorrow. He had gotten to meet most of the people associated with the group, Fatima their choreographer, and their dancers, their management reps and the band. He was really impressed at the size and intensity involved in putting on a production like this. He found a seat and tried to stay out of everyone's way as people were running around making sure everything was set for the following evening. He watched as a group of people, pushed some racks of clothes past him and towards the dressing rooms. ‘Damn’ he thought, this was intense. He was so caught up he didn’t notice when Nick ran up to him. He turned and jumped in surprise when he saw him.

“Shit, you don’t sneak up on people like that.” he said. Nick smiled, looked around and seeing it was safe leaned in and gave Matt a quick kiss.

“ We’re done, so give us a few minutes to get showered and we’re out of here to the the mall.”

“yea...” Matt said without enthusiasm. Nick frowned and kissed him again.

“You don’t wanna go?”

“I have to go, I just don’t like shopping.” Nick gave him a weird look.

“Who doesn’t like shopping? We’ll have fun, besides this gives me the chance to dress you anyway I want.”

Matt smirked, “Yeah right, we’ll see about that.” Nick smiled and took off for the showers. Matt looked around and figured he better find Kenny so they’d be ready to go when the guys were done. He looked around and couldn’t see him. He walked out to the arena and saw a huge guy standing by the seats. He looked out of place so Matt walked over to him. As he approached he saw Kenny asleep, stretched across some of the chairs. When he got close the big guy approached him.

“You Matt?” he asked.


“I’m Robert, I’m gonna be Kenny’s shadow for a while.” He said as they shook hands, “Have you met Mark?”

“No, not yet. Is he another shadow?”

“Yeah he’ll be with you soon, we just got here about twenty minutes ago.” Matt nodded, “You guys just pretend we’re not here unless you want to.”

Matt felt real weird about this, he was new in this type of business but it seemed a bit over the top for security like this. As far as he knew they had left Russell back in Montana and there weren’t any other threats. He pushed that aside as he walked over and woke Kenny up. To gether they walked back over to meet the guys ever aware of the “shadow” that was now attached to them. Before long the guys were ready and every met out by the bus. Here they all met the rest of the shadows. Everyone was real polite, but you could tell the guys weren’t happy about their new babysitters. Everyone except Kevin and Howie climbed on the bus. They were gonna catch a cab straight to the hotel so they could get a nap. Brian, Matt, Nick, Kenny, and A.J. headed out for the local mall.

After hours at the mall they went back to the hotel. Everyone of them was exhausted from their day. They drug their bags in to the elevator and up to their floor. Kevin had told Nick that he had gotten Matt a separate room to keep up appearances but he didn’t care where they slept. A.J. and Brian said good night and then disappeared into their rooms. Matt got Kenny situated in his and made sure he took his pills before heading back to his room and Nick. He shut the door and smiled hen he saw Nick lying on the bed almost asleep. He sat up when he saw Matt.

“Hey there, everything all set.” He said

“Yep, you staying in here?” He asked.

“I told you once, I’m never letting go of you again. this is no exception.”

Matt smiled and sat next to him on the bed. He reached over and ran a gentle hand across Nick’s cheek and now the side of his neck. Nick smiled and leaned in. Soon they were lost in each other, kissing deeply. Matt ran his hand down and pulled on Nicks shirt. He pulled up on it and pulled back only long enough to slip it off him. He ran his hands over Nicks bare chest feeling every bit on the definition that dancing and working out so hard created. Nick shuddered a it as he felt Matt’s hands roam over his body. He reach and pulled on Matts' shirt and soon he was shirt less as well. They leaned back on the bed continuing their exploration of each other. Matt felt himself getting really excited and he knew they would have to stop or this would farther then they were ready for. He was about to say something when his door burst open.

“Hey Matt, I was wondering if you had any....” Kenny froze when he saw them on the bed. Matt and Nick froze in shock, Matt hadn’t had the chance to talk to him yet.

Kenny back out of the room, his mouth open in shock. He reached the hallway and the turned and ran.

“oh shit” Matt murmured.

Well that has part 10, Its not as exciting as I was thinking but it’s the start of something bigger and a change of pace from running from mad gun men in the wilds of Montana. Please send any comment good or bad to everbodycrys@yahoo.com.