When Paths Cross, Part 13 by everybodycrys (everybodycrys@yahoo.com)

Okay here we go with the next part. Remember if you are under 18 or this is illegal in your area then you should not be here. Also this a work of fiction and does not mean to imply the actual sexual orientation of any of the characters real or imagined.

If you have any questions or comments about the story please email me at everybodycrys@yahoo.com. Thanks to all those people that have had such kind comments. Its a real morale booster when I’m writing. By the way one story that I’m readin right now that I want to reccomend is Beneath It All. Its very good and I enjoy reading that one everytime its posted.

.....And part 13

The second they managed to get the full story about the guy in the elevator out of Brian, all hell broke loose. Kevin immediately ordered everyone to gather their stuff and head upstairs. He ran to the nearest phone to call for security. Minutes later they were surrounded by a larger security force then any of them thought were with them. Quickly they were all ushered up stairs to their rooms. They decided to all gather in one room until the security was able to figure out their next step. Kevin was all for moving to another undisclosed hotel, but the head of their security detail argued that they felt the floor they had reserved here was pretty safe and easily safeguarded. He told them that they were working with the hotel to find out if and where Russell had been in the hotel. Was he actually staying here or just staking the place out. Brian sat stunned on the bed of Kevin’s room, thinking of how close he had stood to that monster from the woods. Everyone was in relative silence, most stunned having thought that this guy was ancient history only to have him pop up again.

Nick asked out loud, “What about the concert?”

“Do we cancel?” Howie asked.

“Yes” came from Brain

“No” A.J. replied quickly, “we don’t let this guy dictate our actions. Besides I doubt we could pull out this late. They’re probably already lined up and going in.”

Kevin nodded absently, he didn’t want to subject the guys to any danger, but he knew pulling out this late would be hard. Before they could discuss it any farther the head of security came walking in causing everyone to jump.

“Ok guys, near as we can figure he wasn’t actually staying here. Probably just checking out the floor. I talked to the suits and we both feel that its probably safer to clear you out of here as soon as we can. So, we’re gonna head to the arena where the security force is larger and the backstage environment more containable. We’re canceling all backstage passes and press passes for the evening so it’ll just be employees needed back there. You guys pack up your stuff and leave them in your room except what you need. We’ll grab everything and finish up here. After the concert you’ll get right on the bus and head out.” He looked around the room, “Any questions?”

Everyone shook their heads no. With that he headed out telling them to meet by the elevator in fifteen. Matt shook his head in disbelief and headed out to his room, followed by everyone else. Fifteen minutes later they were all ready and waiting by the elevator. Looking around you wouldn’t have guessed that five of them were superstars on their way to a concert. Each and everyone of them looked scared and paranoid. Everyone tensed up as the elevator door opened, each of them secretly expecting to see some insane madman with a gun waiting for them. It was empty but that did nothing to relieve the tension. They moved quickly and quietly all the way to the limo’s that were waiting below for them. Matt took the time to notice that the windows seemed much thicker then normal. It wasn’t long before they were backstage at the arena. Matt, Kenny, and the guys were relaxing in the back room. With all the extra people around looking in on them and the tons of security walking around it was much easier to relax and they even started joking around a bit before they had to go on. Kevin tried to get them to calm down so they could warm up, but it wasn’t working.

“Nick quit that and get over here.” He called. Nick frowned he had been trying unsuccessfully to find Matt’s ticklish spot. Matt laughed at him when he saw him pout.

“Oh poor baby.”

AJ, Brian, and Kenny were discussing karate and whether they should take some classes to help them out in the future. It seemed like Howie and Kevin were the only ones getting ready. Kevin shook his head hoping that this concert didn’t fall apart. He walked across the room to get the rest of them.

Outside sitting in his dark vehicle, Russell Nevile watched the back stage doors carefully. He had narrowly escaped detection at the hotel having to pay off a few key hotel employees to forget about him. But now he was here and if everything went all right then his plan should work. He quickly glanced at his notes, making sure he had the names of all the employees in the arena that would have to disappear before the end of the year. He had no intentions of doing anything to the members of that boy band itself. He knew that they were too far in the spotlight for that, but the kid and the other fellow were a different matter. They were now a part of the game, a game he had no intention of losing.

He sat...and waited...

The show had been going on for quite a while now and Matt was sure that it was getting close to the end. They were currently singing some of their earlier ballads and he sat there wondering why he had missed all these before. It wasn’t like they weren’t played on the radio every five minutes. He glanced around and noticed that the security was getting ready for the end. The plan was for the guys to exit the stage and head straight for the bus. They could shower and change there. They suits didn’t want to give any time for a crowd to form around the back like it normally did after each concert. Hundreds of fans, screaming and waiting for their favorite band to exit the building. That wouldn’t be happening today. Matt looked around, suddenly the fact that he hadn’t seen Kenny for almost two hours slipped in to his mind. ‘Damn’ he thought, ‘Now I got to go track him down, there’s not even any girls back here this time.’ He walked around a bit, he wasn't by the caterer or in the dressing rooms. Growing a little concerned he cornered a industry intern and asked her if she had see a teenager walking around.

“Not really,” she replied, “I remember seeing Kenny at the start of the concert over by the food, but nothing since then. The only other teen thing I heard was that some security by the gates had to throw out a drunk and disorderly fan, but I don’t think that was Kenny.”

Matt was a bit surprised that she knew who Kenny was, apparently the kid had been getting around back here. He did agree with her that it probably wasn’t Kenny that was thrown out. He thanked her and started looking again. Suddenly he thought for a second and smacked himself on the forehead. He didn’t have to waste all his time wandering around. The shadows were wired to each other. He glanced around and spied his standing a bit away talking to another security agent. He raced over and asked him to find Kenny, or rather his shadow over the radio. His shadow radioed and stood their listening. He swore and turned to Matt.

“Damn Matt, Back here things get a bit lax. No one has Kenny in sight. We’ll pick him up again when you guys board the bus. Don’t worry I’m sure he’s in the bathroom or something.”

“You don’t think he was involved in that drunken incident earlier?” He asked. The agent gave him a strange look.

“What incident? I haven’t heard anything about that. Everyone’s suppose to report at the slightest peep.”

Matt filled him in on what he had learned from the intern. Swearing, both security walked for the stage door at the back of the arena. Matt followed them, hoping it would lead him to Kenny. At the back door they learned that the security that was here during the incident had already headed for home. As the security started arguing about what to do next. Matt made a quick decision and quietly slipped out the back door. If Kenny had been tossed out for some reason, what would he have done? Matt glanced up and down the street unsure of which way to head. Making a decision he headed down the street towards what looked like a bar further down the street.

The end of the concert came like a whirlwind. The guys were pretty jazzed, the concert had gone extremely well. They came running off the stage grinning and sweating, but there was no time for congrats. Immediately the security force started rushing them towards the bus. This was the most dangerous time when all heck was going to break loose and no one wanted to stick around too long. Within seconds they were on the bus, the door closed and the driver had taken off like a bat out of hell. Following the bus were three vans filled with security. The guys fell into the couches exhausted.

“God! that was a sweet concert.” Exclaimed Brian.

Kevin nodded, “Yeah , I don’t think I’ve felt the crowd like that for a while.”

“I guess all it takes is some crazy guy chasing you around the country.” A.J. joked.

Howie frowned at that, “I could do without that part Bone.”

Nick looked around frowning, The mention of Russell had reminded him. “Hey where’s Matt? Where’s Kenny?”

All all looked around. Nick raced to the back of bus looking in all the bunks. Their gear was here but they weren’t. They all went to the front of the bus to find their security guys. The bus driver called back to the vans, but they didn’t have any info. They were told that one of the vans would go back and look for them. One look at Nick’s face told Kevin that this wouldn’t be enough and for one of the first times he pulled the performers advantage over everyone. He didn’t hire these people but their jobs depended on them. He got the entire bus turned around. Two of the vans came with him and one headed on to get the hotel ready. About fifteen minutes later they were back near the arena. The area was still packed with fans. The bus driver didn’t think it was a good idea for them to get to close or the bus would be swamped. They agreed and parked the bus a few streets down. The security detailed made the trip back inside to cover the place for Matt and Kenny. While they were waiting the skies opened up and it started to rain. about a half hour later they received the call that they were able to locate them anywhere inside the arena. Now they were getting nervous. Nick started pacing unsure of where to look. Kevin met with the head of security trying to formulate a plan.

“Is there anything you can think of?” He asked.

“I’ve been talking with the detail and bout the only thing we can think of is that incident at the back doors.”

“What incident?” Kevin asked, this being the first he heard of it.

“Apparently before the concert ended, Matt heard from a intern about security having to throw out a drunken teen so he asked his shadow to check in on it. They went to the back door and that's the last time Matt was seen.”

Kevin was starting to piece things together, he motioned for Brian and A.J. to join him up front, “So what about the incident? was it Kenny?”

The security agent shook his head, “I don’t think so, There was no alcohol backstage so it was probably some teen from outside that tried to get in. We’re trying to verify this but that security person had already left before we could.”

Kevin turned to Brian, “Grab our jackets, if I’m right then they’re probably on the streets around here somewhere.” Brian gave him a nod and disappeared to the back of the bus.

“Its raining sir, lets head to the hotel. I’m sure they’ll turn up before long.”

A.J. frowned and shook his head, “No, thanks but we’ll start looking now. If you want to help then lets go.”

The security guy got more pushy, “This is way beyond dangerous, there’s hundreds of people out there not to mention the possibility of the perp from the hotel. I can’t let you guys leave the bus.” Brian got back with A.J. and Kevin’s jacket and ski caps. Following him were Nick and Howie already dressed.

Kevin threw on his jacket and stepped past the guy on to the street ignoring him. One by one the rest exited the best making their way to stand behind him.

“You guys insist on this then I can’t put the rep of my agency on the line. I’m pulling my guys back. you’ll be on your own.”

They all stood there staring at him then Brian looked at the bus driver, “You gonna stay with us man?” He asked.

The bus driver smiled at them, “Sure thing guys, no way I’m going anywhere. I’ll be right here.”

Brian smiled and thanked him. They all started walking down the street. Behind them the security agent threw up his hands and ran back to the vans, signaling that they were out of there.

“Okay, best thing is if we stay together for now, until the crowd thins out. I don’t want anyone else disappearing on me tonight.”Kevin instructed as they made their way through the streets.

Matt stood in the door of the bar looking around. The place was pretty packed, it was going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack. He hadn’t seen Kenny anywhere on the street so he decided to try in here. Some no name band was jamming away on stage. If he hadn’t been distracted by his search for Kenny he might have noticed that they weren’t too bad. He glanced at his watch noticing how much time had gone by. He hoped that the concert hadn’t ended yet, but in his heart he knew it had, probably a while ago. Giving one last look he headed for the door. He was going to need some help. Just before he reached the door he saw a group of people enter, about five or six with a man following them in the rear. He froze, starting to tremble he recognized the face from the television. Russell!! he quickly ducked back using the darkness of the corners to hide him. He looked around, he had to find a way out. He started making his way towards the back hoping that there would be some alley way entrance back there. He traveled the long way around the bar staying out of sight as best he could. Matt kept one eye glued on Russell the entire way around scared that he would look over any second and spot him. So far he had just taken a seat at the far end of the bar and was ordering a drink. Even with this many people surrounding them Matt was frighten, as if any second this guy would pull a gun and put an end to him. He finally made it to the back, it turned out there was another smaller counter here, slightly out of sight from the front. He sighed in relief when he saw the exit sign on the ceiling. He was just making for it when he caught something out of the corner of his eye. There sitting in the darkness of the back bar was Kenny. Surrounding him were three or four ladies. They were all dressed much like you’d expect for people in their profession. Laughing loudly and causing a bit of a scene, Matt could tell they were upsetting the bartender. Looking back towards the main bar he made sure they hadn’t drawn any unwanted attention from there.

“Hey Kenny, lets go. We’re running late.” He said putting one hand on his shoulder.

Kenny looked up him for a few seconds before recognizing him, “Heyyy MATTY!!, Welcum to thee party.”

Matt knew the minute he smelled his breath that he was wasted. “Oh Jeez, how did this happen?”

Kenny didn’t seem to hear him, “MEET THE GIRLS.....uh....Tami....pami,,,” he trailed off as he tried to remember, then they all broke up laughing.

Matt nodded at them all, “Nice to meet you, Come on Kenny, we’re late. We’ll miss the bus.”

Kenny slapped his good arm on the counter. Matt cringed from the sound it produced, “SORRY LADIES, can’t miss the bus...” he said this last part in almost a whisper, giggling from the sound of his own voice. Matt groaned, this was going to be harder then he thought. He turned the stool so he could get his good arm. Kenny however took it upon himself to bound up, luckily Matt caught him before he fell over completely.

“Jesus, Kenny your wasted.” He turned to the bartender, “You gave this guy drinks? he’s not old enough.”

“Shit man, its not my job to question it, “ the bartender said, “besides he was already like this when he got here.”

Matt didn’t have time to question him further he just wanted out. He slung Kenny’s good arm over his shoulder and supported the drunken teenager as they walked out the back entrance. ‘Shit; he thought, it had started raining. Now he had to drag this guy all the way back to the arena in the rain. He was going to kill him as soon as he was sober enough to suffer from it. Slowly they started their way back down the alley and then along the darken streets. They didn’t notice the door open after them and a man step out into the darkness.

Nick and Howie hoped it was late enough to head back for the arena, They were soon proven wrong. Even with the rain beating down there were still hundreds or preteen girls roaming around the back of the arena. Luckily the rain and the darkness kept them hidden as none of the girls expected to actually run into them on the streets. They decided to duck into the bars around the arena, hoping to find them among all the people there. They were running out of time, Nick had suggested to Kevin that it was safe enough to split up as they would cover more ground. Kevin reluctantly agreed, he was getting sick of being out in the rain too. So now, he and Howie were running bar to bar searching each one for their lost friends.

“Shit Nick, “ Howie said, after they had checked their sixth bar, “we don’t even know if they left the arena during the show. Maybe they caught a taxi, they could be sitting in the hotel rooms wondering where the hell we are.”

Nick could see what Howie was saying, they turned back towards the bus, hoping to run into the other three so they could adjust their strategy.

It had taken him over a hour, but he had managed to get Kenny back to the back of the arena. It was getting late now and the place looked pretty much deserted. By now the rain had driven away even the most faithful fan. He sat Kenny down on the curb, because he sounded like he was about to puke. Matt had no intention of letting him puke on him. He pounded on the big doors trying to get some response from the building. Nothing happened, apparently there wasn’t anyone left inside or they weren’t going to answer. He walked over to the street and glanced about. The rain started getting heavier and his visibility was quickly shrinking.

“God Kenny, If we ever needed a miracle, this would be it.” He stopped and laughed, thinking back to the plane crash, the time in the woods, the escape from Russell, his parents, running into Russell again. He turned towards Kenny, “I guess we used up all our....Oh shit.” When he glanced over at Kenny he saw that he had passed out cold, falling back onto the wet concrete. He rushed over and checked him over to make sure he was okay. He seemed okay, but he had to get him out of the rain. He picked Kenny up carrying him in his arms, careful so he didn’t crush the bad shoulder. He tried to spot someplace, but couldn’t see anything. He had to go somewhere so he started off down the street walking as quickly as he could with his heavy burden.

Back at the bus, the guys had come to a conclusion. They had to head back to the hotel and hope that Matt and Kenny were there waiting for them. They had tried to phone but the storm had taken out the lines and they weren’t getting any reception on their cells. Nick sat with his face pressed against the window. He hoped that Matt was at the hotel but he wasn’t going to stop looking for him on the streets as they passed.

It was only a few minutes after he started walking that Matt thought he heard something. At first he dismissed it as the storm playing tricks with his mind, but after a few minutes he couldn’t deny that someone was on the street with them, following them through the storm. He looked back, trying to find the person. He called out hoping this person could help out, but there was no response. Matt was getting pretty scared now, he hadn’t been able to find anyplace open that could help him, and now some creep was stalking them through the streets. Suddenly that hunted feeling took control and it came flooding into his head. That could be Russell continuing his hunt through the storm. Matt wanted to run but Kenny was still out and he was getting heavy. Grunting he let Kenny’s legs fall so he was holding him up around the chest. In his ear he heard the footsteps getting closer.

“Crap...Kenny...Kenny wake up man, we gotta go.” He didn’t get any response. He shifted grabbing Kenny’s good arm and then hefted him up over his shoulder in a weak version of the fireman’s carry. With this much easier method of travel, Matt took off as fast as he could, almost immediately he heard the steps behind speed up as well. Matt turned the corner and raced along the next street. He could hear the steps behind him getting closer and closer. The fear that overwhelmed him was indescribable. Even in the rain he was sweating. Tears ran from his eyes as he raced along the street. Suddenly there was a explosion of light.

“OH SHIT!!!!” They heard the bus driver scream seconds before the bus went crazy. The driver had swerved for some reason. The guys found them selves tangled up with each other on the floor. The bus had stopped. They got up quickly and raced to the front of the bus to see what had happened. Nick squinted through the rain and saw a man standing in front of the bus, frozen by the headlights. He seemed to be carrying a bundle of some type.

“That's Matt!!!” Brian yelped reaching over and grabbing Nick. Nick looked again and saw that he was right. He was panting from exhaustion and looked like a drown cat, but that was Matt. The entire group piled off the bus. Matt looked at them at first not recognizing them, but when Nick came into view, he snapped out of it.

“Nick!” He called, He raced for the door, still mindful of their flight. He carefully handed Kenny to A.J. When Kevin saw that it was Kenny he immediately told the driver to find the nearest hospital. Matt almost fell into Nicks arms from exhaustion.

“Matt, what the hell happened? Where were you?” He asked as he helped support him and guided him on the bus to get him out of the rain. Matt ignored him for a second as he waved Kevin over.

“Forget the hospital, Kev. He’s not hurt. He’s just drunk.” He gasped out. Kevin gave him strange look but then told the driver to head for the hotel. Matt and Nick made there way to the small table in their small kitchen area.

“Matt what happened?” Nick asked. Making sure he was sitting comfortably before springing for a towel that Howie had brought up to them.

“Yeah man, what's up with Kenny?” Howie asked.

“I’ll tell you, he’s passed out cold and his breath stinks of alcohol.” A.J. said coming into the kitchen. It wasn’t long before all of them were sitting in there waiting for Matt to fill them in, and fill them in he did. He told them everything from when he noticed Kenny was missing to when he almost became road kill in front of the bus. All five of the guys listened, their mouths hanging open from the fantastic tale. When he was done, he was so tired he could barely keep his head up.

“Well I guess we assume that it was Kenny that got thrown out.” Kevin said

“Who would have thrown him out?” Brian asked.

“Probably some part time arena security who didn’t know any better.” A.J. said.

“Where’d the alcohol come from?” Matt asked to no one in particular, he was dead tired but he had to get this out there. Everyone looked at each other, when no one spoke up, Kevin took over.

“I don’t think it was one of us. At least I can’t see it being one of us. We’ll find that out once he wakes up. Where is he?”

“I put him in his bunk to sleep it off. He’s still in his wet clothes thou.” A.J said.

“I think tonight has been real rough for everyone, lets just get to the hotel and get some rest. I’ll call and see about some new security.” Brian spoke up. everyone nodded their agreement. A.J. and Howie went back to make Kenny was all right and get him in some dry clothes. Nick ran back and got some blankets and the two of them curled up on one of the couches to stay warm. The hotel was still over a hour or two away, but Matt didn’t want to go back and change right now, even when Nick suggested it. Brian disappeared for a while probably to take a nap or make some calls. Matt slowly drifted off, still cold but recovering from the warmth of Nick’s body.

Russell stepped back into the darkness when he saw The bus stop inches in front of Matt. ‘Damn’ he thought,’ Now its going to take even longer.’ These other five were constantly getting in his way. He pulled back in the shadows as far as he could when the bus passed him. Quickly he started back for his car. It didn’t matter how far ahead of him they got. He already knew where they were going. traveling around in one of the nation’s biggest tours wasn’t exactly the way to dissapear. He would have them, and soon...

Almost exactly a hour and a half later they reached the hotel. Slowly Nick nudged Matt to wake him up.

“Uh...what?” Matt groaned.

“We’re here, the quicker we move the faster you can get warm.” Nick said softly.

Matt groaned again but got up. Shaking the sleep out of his head he glanced over at Nick. “Lets go, I’m about ready to fall over.”

Nick smiled, “ You look it too, we also have to get you out of those wet clothes.” He picked up the blanket had wrapped it around Matt to keep him warm. Together they stepped off the bus.

Matt glanced around but didn’t see anyone, “Where is everyone?”

“They’re already on their way up. Kevin’s got Kenny and A.J.’s helping him out. we just had to make sure that there were no cameras.”

Matt nodded, sounded like a good idea. They got on the elevator, Matt leaned his head on Nick’s shoulder, closing his eye just wishing for some nice quiet time. They reached their floor quickly and before he knew it they were in their room. Matt was going to sit down on the bed but Nick quickly grabbed his arm and pulled him towards the bathroom.

“First you have to get out of those wet clothes.” he said handing him a big fluffy white towel, “go get a nice warm shower and I’ll leave you some clothes.” Matt grumbled but accepted the towel and disappeared into the bathroom.

He turned on the shower letting the hot water steam up the small room. He took off the wet clothes he’d been wearing letting them fall on the floor. Being neat wasn’t primary mission right now. He stepped into the shower letting the hot water cascade over his body. He rested his head against the wall just letting the water pour over him. The tiredness seem about to take him. He knew if he didn’t hurry he was going to fall asleep right here. Minutes later he turned off the water and got out. The room was filled with steam, he grabbed the towel and got dry. He spotted some sweats and boxers sitting on the counter top. Smiling, he got dressed and opened the door. The colder air gave him goose pimple on his arms. Nick glanced up from the bed, smiling as he took him in.

“You didn’t leave me a shirt.” Matt said with a sly smile, “I’m gonna get cold.

Nick lifted up the cover’s next to him, “I guess I’ll just have to keep you warm then.”

Matt slipped into the bed. Nick was wearing a think gray sweatshirt, Matt liked the feel of it s he laid his head on his chest. Nick wrapped his arms around him pulling him close. Matt liked the fell of Nicks chest rising and falling with every breath. It was rhythmic and soothing, before long Matt was deep asleep. Nick enjoyed watching him sleep, he rubbed Matt’s back, continuing to watch him until he too drifted off.

Kevin got up with the sun the next morning, normally they took a little extra time the morning after a concert before they started again. This helped keep them sane and kept the tour from becoming to big a burden for them. He had gotten up for a number of reasons. First and foremost was the safety of the group. He wanted to scan the contracts and see if there was anyway to get some time for them to lay low, even if it meant canceling out the rest of the tour. That was the last resort but his first responsibility was to make sure they stayed alive and healthy. Second he wanted to sort out the whole mess from the previous night. He had been the front runner for the group for a long time, like the media said, he was the big brother and he took great pride in that and he wasn’t going to let any of them down. He called up a friend from back home that could help him out with the contract situation. He learned that if the danger got to great he could talk to the firm about pulling the last of the concerts or rescheduling them. The gray part was what the firm would define as a danger too great. Kevin thought that Russell should count for sure. He glanced at his watch and decided it was still a little early to call them so he decided to get some room service sent up, hoping that the rest of them would be up around the time it got here. If they weren’t then he’d just have to us his big brother powers and make sure they were. A smile crept across his face as he thought about that. Sometimes the stereotypes weren’t half bad.

Back in Nick and Matt’s room, Matt was just beginning to feel the effects of the night before. So far he seemed to have managed to escape any sickness, but it might be a while before he knew for sure. What he did feel however was pain, pain coming from every muscle he seemed to have. running around the city last night and having to carry Kenny for much of it had taken its toll. Slowly he stretched out, cringing from every pain that went running through him, so far he had managed not to wake Nick up, but with a spastic jerk that was ruined. Nick snorted and blinked his eyes. he turned and saw Matt half sitting up.

“You getting up already? its only been a few hours. You need your sleep.” He said. Matt wasn’t sure if he meant that or if he was just using that as a excuse to go back to sleep.

Matt smiled, “ Its okay, I just need to stretch. You go back to sleep.”

Nick shook his head, “No that's okay, Its not good to oversleep anyway, besides I promised myself I’d check up on Kenny this morning.” Matt could tell that this wasn’t normal behavior for him. He just didn’t want to be in bed without him, he thought that was pretty sweet. He nodded in agreement with Nick, checking on Kenny would be a good idea especially after last night. Matt went over to their luggage and rummaged around until he found a white t-shirt, slipping this on he was about to head for the bathroom when the phone rang. Nick, who was still sitting on the side of the bed contemplating how the world worked this early picked it up.


“Yeah okay, no we were up anyway....yeah that's right....no I’m not sick. Look okay, we’ll be there....bye”

“Who was that?” Matt asked.

“Kevin, breakfast in his room in about ten minutes, says we need to talk about things.”

“Well. you get up and ready, i showered last night so I can wait. I’ll go get Kenny up and meet you there.”

“Okay.” Nick said, still sitting on the side of the bed. Matt knew it would still be a few minutes before he was up to moving under his own power. He grabbed his sandals and went into the hall. It occurred to him that he didn’t know where any of the rooms were. He was about to go back in and ask when he saw A.J. leaving his room further down the hall.

“Hey, A.J. morning.” He called as he came walking up.

A.J. grunted, “This is way to early man, I need my sleep.” Matt nodded in agreement.

“You know where Kenny’s room is?” He asked. A.J. pointed to the room next to his.

“Right there, I spent half the night checking in on him to make sure he was okay. That boy and alcohol just don’t mix.”

Matt agreed with him and said so. Together they went to the door and knocked. They heard a small groan so they opened the door using the key that A.J. had. Sitting on the side of his bed in sweat pants and a tight white tank top with his head in his hands groaning was the sorriest looking kid they’ve seen. Together they walked over and took a seat on either side of him.

“Well there kiddo, someone looked like they had quite the evening.” A.J. said a little on the loud side.

Kenny groaned again, “Uh...what happened?”

“You, my friend got drunk. What I wanna know is why?” Matt said in response, also a little loud.

“Could you guys keep it down a little. My head is killing me.”He croaked out.

“Its not our fault you were downing god knows what backstage.” A.J. said.

Kenny looked up at him, “What are you talking about? I wasn’t drinking at all last night.”

“Kenny, you were and you ended up getting tossed out of the arena. I had to go looking for you all over and ended up carrying you back to the bus through the rain.” Matt left out the part about seeing Russell again, there’d be time for that later.

Kenny turned to face Matt, “Matt, I wasn’t drinking, all I did was get some food from the caterer, then....then I don’t remember. That's all I remember. I swear.”

Matt looked over at A.J. to see if he was buying this. It just didn’t make sense, but Matt was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. “well come on, we can talk about this later. Kevin has breakfast waiting for us and you probably need to get something in your stomach.”

Kenny groaned again when he heard this, the very thought of food was making his stomach turn, but he didn’t resist as they helped him up and walked with him to Kevin’s room. When they arrived, Kevin, Howie, and Nick were already there and eating. There were two carts lined up against the wall filled with all the different choices one could think of for breakfast. The second the smell hit him, Kenny felt dizzy with nausea. He turned around to head back to his room, but Matt caught him with a arm around the waist and turned him back into the room.

“Well good morning sunshine.” Kevin called out, seeing him enter with the others. Kenny gave him a halfhearted wave before retiring to the nearest chair he could find. He grabbed a blanket and curled up on the chair hoping they would just let him sleep. No such luck, as A.J. came over with two plates. He took a seat next to him, pretty much forcing him to eat. Matt waved Kevin and Nick over. He explained what Kenny had told them about the previous night. Kevin nodded he agreed with Matt, he didn’t know whether to believe him or not, but he was going to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. They all proceeded with breakfast and soon all seven of them were sitting around each other as Kevin begun. He started by having Matt explain to Kenny the entire story from the night before, not leaving anything out this time. Kenny’s face turned ash gray when he heard about Russell coming into the bar with them. When Matt was finished he looked extremely bad.

“Look guys, i am so sorry about last night. I have no idea what happened. All I remember is the concert starting and then I went to get something to eat. that's it.” His voice was shaky. He was trembling from the fear of both what happened and that they might be thinking less of him. Howie got a sudden idea and grabbed for Kevin’s phone, he dialed up information for the city they had just left and got the number for the caterer they had used. After a few more minutes on the phone he hung up. Even though they had gotten the jest of it by listening he filled them in anyway. “Somebody called the caterer yesterday, pretending to be someone from the tour.”

“Why would they do that?” Brian asked.

“I don’t know except, that they canceled them before the show started. That guy who was bringing in the food wasn’t even from their company.”

“So anyone could come waltzing in at that point pretending to be them.” Matt said thinking out loud. “I bet there was something in the food. poison, drugs, something.” Everyone nodded in agreement, a sense of relief came over Matt as he realized that Kenny was probably telling the truth. This news however made Kevin look even more unsettled.

“Well then that settles it.” He said, “Its become too dangerous out there for us. I’ve been talking with a few people and reading through the contracts and as far as we can determine there is a clause that says if it becomes too dangerous to continue, we can cancel the rest of the tour or at the very least postpone the remaining dates.”

“How does that help?” Nick asked.

“It’ll give us some time to lie low and let the police track down Russell. I already know a place that’ll work well. Its private and i don’t think anyone would be able to track us down. The only thing I need is the okay from the rest of you guys to go ahead and start this thing going. Its gonna turn ugly because management isn’t going to want to cancel anything, but if we all say yes I’m sure it’ll work....” He paused for a sec, “Well what do you say.”

The rest of them thought for a second before answering.

“Yeah go ahead.” Howie said.

“Yes.” A.J. sighed, he didn’t like the fact that they had to go into hiding now, but he knew it was for the best.

“Yeah” Brian said.

Nick looked over at Matt, there was no way he was going to let anything happen to him. He turned back to Kevin...

“Yes, lets go.”

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